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"80% less coronavirus import: ban on foreign travel has worked"

Biostatistician Geert Molenberghs has underlined that Belgium's policy on international travel is paying off. Speaking at the VRT, he said that "figures show that the present Belgian ban on non-essential travel has allowed us to keep out 80 percent of coronavirus import from red zones abroad". 

Belgium is applying strict measures on foreign travel. All non-essential travel has been banned, which is not being well received by the European Union. In fact, the EU wants Belgium to relax its present travel restrictions. 

These were imposed by the government after it turned out that "strongly advising against something" is not really working; thousands of holiday makers went abroad during the Christmas holidays. Premier Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) wanted to avoid a repeat of this in the mid-term break in Februari, and if possibly also in the Easter holidays in spring.  

The ban has worked, argues Mr Molenberghs. He thinks it's relevant to maintain the present ban: "While the British variant is conquering Belgium, it will be key to keep other variants such as the Brazilian and the South-African one."

Molenberghs sees no problem for international travel, but only when it is really necessary. "If you boast specific technical skills and knowledge which are lacking abroad, there is no problem. But taking a plane to attend a business meeting? I think this can be done online." 

The travel ban will be on the table next Friday when the different governments meet to discuss corona restrictions. 

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