‘Radical measures’ needed to ensure Covid-19 safety at Brussels Airport
Tuesday, 10 November 2020
People did not respect the coronavirus measures at Brussels Airport over the past three weekends, according to Philippe Touwaide, the Federal Mediator of the National Airport.
Touwaide wrote of “regrettable incidents in the halls of Brussels National Airport” in a letter to the Federal Mobility Authorities and to the Directorate General of Air Transport.
On 24 and 25 October, there was chaos in Brussels Airport’s Covid-19 testing centre, with people being denied boarding and delays in test results, according to Touwaide.
Earlier reports indicate that test results were delayed by 36 to 48 hours at the time as the airport’s partner was overwhelmed with the number of samples to be analysed. The number of people getting tested there had nearly quadrupled since the testing centre opened.
The other two weekends – 31 October and 1 November, and 7 and 8 November – saw crowds in the departure hall and the flouting of health measures, according to Touwaide. People were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing, he added.
The second of the three weekends occurred right before Belgium went back into lockdown, with 8,000 travellers departing on Saturday and nearly 6,000 on Sunday according to an airport spokesperson. Some passengers took to Twitter to lament the understaffing at the airport.
Touwaide has asked authorities “to take radical measures to ensure that all the health rules laid down by the Minister of the Interior are strictly respected” at the airport “and that the management of the Brussels Airport Company is called to order on these facts so that these serious breaches, punishable by fines, do not recur.”