“Don’t travel to Italy”

The Belgian foreign ministry has tightened its travel advice for Italy.  The ministry is now advising against all travel to the country affected by the COVID-19 outbreak for business or pleasure until the beginning of April. 

The Belgian authorities took the decision after the Italian government placed the entire country in quarantine.

Brussels Airlines only flew one flight to Italy today.

VRT’s Rome correspondent speaks of a situation that feels very unreal and frightening, especially as he cannot go anywhere.  Angelo van Schaik: “Italy now resembles a police state.  If you want to go anywhere, you need a very good reason.  You have to be able to tell the police, you are doing this for work, for healthcare or to buy supplies.  Without a valid reason, you risk a fine or a prison sentence.”

The Belgian foreign ministry earlier advised against school trips to Greece.  Greece is discouraging school trips in a bid to stem the outbreak.

Meanwhile in Brussels, where the European Parliament is holding all sessions due to the outbreak, Flemish Euro MP Geert Bourgeois (Flemish nationalist), called for greater co-ordination between EU states.  Speaking in a debate on the coronavirus outbreak he called for greater co-operation on prevention, an exchange of information on the results of different treatments and on how to deal with mass gatherings and quarantines.  Mr Bourgeois noted that approaches differed widely from country to country.

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