From Christmas, travelers arriving in Belgium will have to produce a negative coronavirus test in order to be allowed into the country, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said Friday.
Faced with slowing progress in its fight against the coronavirus, the government announced a clampdown on travel.
Non-residents traveling to Belgium after Christmas will have to prove they’ve tested negative or they “won’t get in,” Vandenbroucke said, adding that the government will ask transport companies not to let people travel without a negative test.
People returning from a region marked red, for high risk — currently most of Europe — will generally be required to quarantine for seven days and get tested, unless they can prove they’ve been cautious, Vandenbroucke added.
The government intends to become “much stricter” in its assessment of travelers’ behavior, through the use of its passenger locator form, and authorities will ramp up checks to make sure people arriving in Belgium have filled it out, the minister said.
The government also wants to ramp up checks that people are working remotely, as compliance is falling.
The measures will be rolled out in the next few days, Vandenbroucke said.
Belgium’s daily infection rate has come down from 22,000 at the height of the second wave to a tenth of that today. But although deaths and hospital admissions are still on the decline, average daily infection numbers are up again.
“That could be the start of a third wave, but we can prevent that from happening,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said, directing a plea to citizens to “keep Christmas, and therefore the coronavirus, small.”