“Stricter checks to replace travel ban in April”

In a letter to the European commission the Belgian government has now justified its ban on non-essential travel.  Earlier the commission suggested alternative options were available to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The Belgian government has now informed the commission that the ban introduced at the end of January was proportionate and would stay in place till 1 April.  The commission raised questions after the ban was extended without any additional justification.

Mr De Croo (Flemish liberal) has said the ban on non-essential travel abroad is more than justified given the emergence of new variants of coronavirus.  The ban is part of a raft of policies and is needed as long as enough people have not been vaccinated.

Stricter checks on mandatory corona tests and quarantine for people arriving here from abroad are to replace the travel ban when it is dropped in April.  Belgian governments stuck a deal on these stricter checks during Wednesday’s meeting of the consultative committee that represents all six Belgian governments and has the final say on corona measures.

Speaking in parliament on Thursday afternoon the premier suggested any relaxations would be focused on outdoor activities where there is less danger of transmission.

The consultative committee meets again on Friday. Mr De Croo warned against rushing relaxations as this would only lead to higher numbers in hospital.  The Belgian leader also indicated that governments were looking at how testing and self-testing could play a larger role given the fact Belgium’s capacity for 140,000 tests a day is not fully used.

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