Virologist and Governor say that travel restrictions are insufficient

The Governor of Antwerp Province Cathy Berx and the Leuven University (KUL) virologist Marc Van Ranst have told the VRT that the restrictions on foreign travel that come into force from tomorrow are “insufficient”. From Wednesday 27 January until Monday 1 March all non-essential travel outside Belgium is banned. Similarly, people that are not resident here are banned from visiting Belgium for the purposes of leisure, recreation or tourism. 

The measures are designed to try and curb the further spread of coronavirus and thwart the introduction of new more contagious strains of the virus.

However, speaking on VRT television’s evening topical discussion programme ‘De afspraak’ the virologist Marc Van Ranst and Governor Cathy Berx (photo above) of Antwerp Province both said that they believe that the measures don’t go far enough. They believe that the measure should have also been applied to cover business trips where a person’s physical presence isn’t absolutely necessary. For example, negotiations on a business deal can be carried out using a web meeting application such as Zoom.

Technicians or engineers that have to travel abroad to, for example, carry out repairs or maintenance work would still be allowed to travel. However, Ms Berx told ‘De afspraak’ that “Everything that can be delayed and is not pressingly necessary, should really just be left for now”.  

Professor Van Ranst said that the travel restrictions are long overdue. “But hopfully this will now help”.  

Governor Berx also said that if the results of the mass testing of the residents of a number of areas of Antwerp in recent days show a large number of infections, she will press for the mandatory wearing of face covering masks at all times in these areas of the city. This would mean that as has been the case in Brussels for months now, everyone would be obliged to wear a face covering while outside their home. Ms Berx will discuss this with the city authorities in Antwerp if the test results necessitate it.

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