Nicolas Maeterlinck

COVID-19: public health authorities in Brussels to focus on those returning from Red Zone areas

The Public Health Inspectorate in the Brussels-Capital Region has said at a press conference held on Tuesday morning that in the coming weeks it will focus its efforts to contain and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus on people returning to Brussels from trips to Red Zone (high risk) areas and children that are returning to school. To this end a public information campaign is being launched.  

During the period between 15 and 21 August 856 people in the Brussels-Capital Region tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Although this is a slight fall (2%) compared with a week early, it is less pronounced that the fall in the number of new infections in the country as a whole. The basic reproduction number for the virus in Brussels is now below 1 again, albeit only very slightly.

While the level of new infections is no longer increasing, it isn’t decreasing by much either. The Brussels Regional Health Inspectorate remains very cautious. The Inspectorate’s Inge Neven told VRT News that “It is much too early to say that we are winning. The daily number of positive test results in Brussels averages at around 122". 

Ms Neven added that "We are now entering a period in which a lot of people will be returning from Red Zone areas, during which children will be returning to school and in which quite probably normal life will resume”. 

In the City of Brussels, Schaarbeek, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Sint-Joost-ten-Node and Evere in particular large numbers of holiday-makers are expected to return from Red Zone areas. “Keeping the situation under control there is are biggest priority for the moment”. 

Ms Neven added that the regional health inspectorate is working closely with the respective municipal authorities. "Together with these five municipalities we are launching a public information campaign. We are going to help people fill in the registration form that is mandatory if they have been in a Red Zone area for more than 48 hours. We are investing in guidance to assist people. Anyone returning from a Red Zone area must quarantine regardless of the test result. The municipalities will offer help to get people through this difficult period. Children that are returning to school will also be helped”. 

Border checks

Information flyers will be distributed at Brussels' busiest railway stations. The Regional Health Inspectorate has also asked the federal authorities to carry out checks at our country’s borders to ensure that those returning to Belgium fill in the Passenger Locator Form. However, it is still unclear whether the request will be heeded. 

Top stories