Belgium to ban all recreational and tourist travel from January 27

Belgium to ban all tourist travel from Jan 27

Belgium will ban all recreational and tourist trips to and from the country from January 27 until March 1, aiming to contain the virulent spread of COVID-19 the country has seen over the last few weeks. 

It does not mean that Belgium nationals will not be allowed to leave the country, “we are not going to build a wall around Belgium. We can go to other countries but only for essential reasons,” said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Friday.

Foreign nationals visiting Belgium for reasons such as co-parenting, medical attention and work will be allowed. However, these people will need to submit proof of two negative PCR COVID-19 test results; one before departure and another one upon arrival. 

The epidemiological situation in Belgium remains dire. Over the last week, the country has had an average of almost 2,000 new cases per day, according to the Public Health Institute Sciensano.

COVID-19 is putting an unseen strain on the health system with more than 125 new admissions per day, also over the last week.

As of today, Belgium has officially reported a total of 686,827 COVID-19 cases and 20,620 deaths.

Belgium Police talking to citizens
Belgium Police talking to citizens / F. Lenoir – Reuters

But Belgium is not the only country voicing these concerns. Politicians, legislators and epidemiologists across Europe have expressed their uneasiness about how the new COVID-19 strains, especially the one first found in the U.K, are spreading unexpectedly fast.  

Given the claim, last Thursday a number of EU leaders announced in a 4-hour virtual meeting that a fresh set of restrictions for non-essential travel across Europe is on the table

The EU member states will work on stricter common travel rules on both travel within the 27 European nations, and visitors coming from outside the bloc. 

The details of these new international travel rules are expected to be released this Monday.