Against the coronavirus, Belgium prohibits "non-essential" travel from next Wednesday and for the entire month of February: Belgians no longer have the right to go on vacation in the French or Swiss mountains and other Europeans cannot no longer come to the kingdom for no good reason.
This is one of the most drastic measures in Europe: Belgium bans "non-essential" travel from next Wednesday until March 1.
The Belgian Prime Minister explains that he wants to build a bulwark against the coronavirus, at a time when the situation in his country is better than that of his neighbors.
Belgians will no longer have the right to go on vacation and European travelers can no longer come to Belgium without a valid reason, such as work.
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"When people travel, the virus travels with them"
Since the beginning of November, social contacts have been reduced to the strict minimum in Belgium and this is giving results: 2,000 infections on Friday for 11 and a half million inhabitants, while at the same time there were more than 23,000 in France (for 67 million inhabitants).
Alexander de Croo, the head of government, wants to limit what he calls "the importation" of new variants.
"I know this is a very restrictive measure. But we have seen in the past weeks that when people travel, the virus travels with them. And we have seen in the test samples that there are many more variants in people who have traveled than among people who have not traveled, ”he explains.
The Belgian authorities did not appreciate that at Christmas tens of thousands of people leave when travel abroad was already strongly discouraged.
One case marked the spirits: patients in a family who had gone on vacation to Switzerland and did not respect the health measures, which on their return caused the closure of two schools and the quarantine of 5,000 people.
"Leisure or leisure travel" with "border controls with fines" will be banned, said RTBF television channel Elio Di Rupo, the president of the Walloon region.
Frontier workers are not affected.
Belgium hard hit by the pandemic
Belgium, which has 11.5 million inhabitants, is one of the European states hardest hit by the pandemic.
The death of more than 20,000 people linked to the coronavirus has already been recorded.
While this country considers that it has contained the second wave better (around 2,000 new cases per day currently) than some of its neighbors, Germany and the Netherlands in particular, the contagiousness of the British variant of the virus is causing serious concern.
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The latter has already caused dozens of contaminations in retirement homes and forced the temporary closure of several schools.