Belgium will drop its ban on travel to areas marked high-risk due to the coronavirus from Friday and instead “strongly discourage” travel.
The country had opted for a strict interpretation of its travel restrictions, imposing bans on residents traveling to zones marked red in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
But as of Friday, the country will revert to strong advice against traveling to high-risk areas, matching its pre-coronavirus approach to travel advice, Foreign Affairs Minister Philippe Goffin said in a statement.
The move is an effort by Belgium to match the approach taken in other countries, the minister said, as EU governments continue their work to align coronavirus travel restrictions.
EU countries have brought in a confusing patchwork of restrictions since the start of the pandemic. The European Commission this month proposed measures to coordinate the bloc’s restrictions more closely, including for governments to use the same data and align the way they communicate new measures to the public. That push is on the agenda of EU affairs ministers meeting Tuesday.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, but replacing a travel ban to the red zones with a negative travel advice that strongly discourages travelling to a red zone is an important step towards real coordination that Belgium wants to establish as soon as possible,” Goffin said in the statement.
Areas that Belgium labels red currently include Paris, Vienna, Budapest, mainland Spain and Romania, as well as all countries outside the EU and Schengen zone. Travelers returning from red areas are required to get tested and quarantine.
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