Belgium makes ‘day 1’ covid test mandatory for all red zone arrivals

Belgium will once again tighten measures for returning travellers from midnight tonight, according to a press release following today’s last-minute meeting of the Consultative Committee.

The new measures are as follows:

Mandatory quarantine after a stay of more than 48 hours in a red zone. This means that as of 31 December 2020, everyone (residents and non-residents) who returns to Belgium after a stay of at least 48 hours in a red zone will have to go into quarantine. The quarantine can only be ended after a negative PCR test on day 7 of the quarantine.

A PCR test is required on return on day 1 and day 7 of quarantine. From Saturday, January 2, 2021, people will receive a text message after their return with which they can register at a test centre.

At Brussels Airport, the testing capacity will be further expanded so that incoming travellers will be able to ve tested there immediately. Testing capacity will additionally be developed at Charleroi airports and Brussels-Midi station.

Extra checks will be placed on return from abroad. As discussed yesterday, a special effort will be made to strengthen the checks of measures in cross-border traffic. This includes checking the Passenger Location Form and the mandatory negative test for non-residents.

These stricter measures should be seen as an addition to the previous decisions of the Consultative Committee which, among other things, provided for stricter checks of the Passenger Locator Form and called for a negative test for non-residents entering Belgium.

These measures apply until 15 January. Exceptions can be made for:

People exercising critical functions in essential sectors
Students taking an exam (can only interrupt to take the exam)
For residents who were abroad for professional reasons.
“The Consultative Committee has determined that the number of infections in our country is currently lower than in other countries,” said the release. “The evolution of the number of confirmed cases is also more favourable in our country than in other countries. In addition, there is a strong indication that a new variant of COVID-19 currently circulating in the United Kingdom is much more contagious.”

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