Belgian home minister Annelies Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat): “We pulled the emergency brake yesterday and took measures valid for 24 hours. We’re on the case today in order to bring clarity ASAP. European consultations are required in order to decide on the correct measures. There’s no point in closing one border if people can make their way in via other open borders.”
“We need short-term and medium-term solutions to ensure everybody knows where it’s at and can adapt their organisation, activities and travel accordingly.”
Flights from the UK have been halted. The date of 6 January is being muted as a possible end date for any initial common ban.
“A one-or two-week period is realistic, but we need to examine the impact of the new variant”.
“Sometimes the virus forces us to take measures we could not anticipate and that need to be implemented very quickly in order to prevent worse things from occurring. That happened yesterday. The virus is said to be more contagious – it doesn’t make you more unwell - but people catch it more quickly. The result will be more cases, more hospitalisations, greater pressure on critical care. This we must prevent.”
“We must make every effort to communicate clearly. We’re awaiting the advice of the experts before we take decisions today.”
Belgians stranded in the Britain will not be left to their lot.
“They can contact the foreign ministry so that a solution can be found. These are concerns that will receive a follow-up today too” says the home minister.