Travelers arriving in Belgium as of December 31 who stayed for more than 48 hours in coronavirus red zones will have to quarantine and take a PCR test on the first and seventh day after entering.
Belgium’s Consultation Committee decided on the rules at a virtual meeting on Wednesday. In a press release, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that the measures apply to residents and nonresidents alike until January 15.
The quarantine can only be lifted if the compulsory PCR test — considered more accurate than rapid antigen tests — taken on the seventh day is negative. More controls will be carried out to make sure nonresidents complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and present a negative test.
Exceptions to the quarantine include persons performing essential jobs, students who need to take an exam or people who stayed abroad for professional reasons.
For European Parliament staff, a testing center and an additional form were already in place before the holidays. The deputy spokesperson of the assembly said officials expected the strengthening so sought to ensure its own testing center would handle staff coming from abroad, to avoid overloading Belgian facilities.
The measures come after a plea from experts urging the government to take stricter measures on travelers. They argued that the current system — requiring travelers to complete the PLF assessing the need for quarantine — was not enough and too easy to circumvent.