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King Filip’s state visit to Italy falls through

King Filip’s state visit to Italy has been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Filip, King of Belgians, and Queen Mathilde were supposed to travel to Italy on 23 March for a three-day state visit, but this will now not go ahead.

The postponement is linked to the draconian action Italy is taking to tackle the outbreak.  Business leaders, academics and scientists were supposed to accompany King Filip.  They too will now stay at home.

The decision is bad news for the Limburg PXL polytechnic that had hoped to strengthen ties with companies from the most easterly Flemish province that are active in Italy.  PXL also hoped to forge closer ties with Italian universities.

PXL rector Luc De Schepper: “A state visit is an opportunity to agree with rectors of Italian universities on joint projects.  It’s a shame this now falls through.”

“A large group of people take part in a state visit, some 200 people.  What if people come down with the disease and need to be quarantined out there.  I understand the reluctance to take the risk.”