Interior Minister says that restrictions on people from India entering the country may be tightened
The Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat) has told VRT News that the restrictions on people entering Belgium from India might be tightened. Ms Verlinden was speaking in response to the news that 20 Indian nursing students that were quarantining after having arrived here last week have tested positive for coronavirus. The students have been found to have contracted the Indian variant of the virus. The Interior Minister told VRT News that “There is already a ban on travel to Belgium from India, but we could look at tightening the exceptions to this”.
Ms Verlinden will meet with representatives of the regional governments to look at how the travel ban for people coming here from India can be tightened. Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’, the Interior Minister was keen to stress that there is already a ban on travel from India to Belgium. However, several exceptions are made to this, including for those that come here to study or work and also for those that need to come here for urgent reasons related to their family, such as for a funeral.
Anyone coming to Belgium from India is obliged to get tested for coronavirus and to quarantine. However, during their quarantine they are allowed to go to the shops to buy food or go to a pharmacy to buy medication. Ms Verlinden says that she now plans to examine whether the quarantine rules should be tightened.
She added that any complete ban on people coming here from India would need to be arranged at European level. There are hardly any direct flights between India and Belgium and as was the case with the students, the lion’s share of those coming to Belgium from India arrive here via airports in neighbouring countries such as Charles de Gaulle, near Paris, Schiphol, near Amsterdam or Frankfurt in Germany.