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All Belgian nationals on cruise ship Westerdam back home

The 10 Belgian nationals who were aboard the cruise ship Westerdam have all returned to their country. The last 2 have landed at Schiphol Airport on Friday morning 21 February, where they have been welcomed by an official from the Zorg en Gezondheid Agency of the Flemish Community.

The 8 other Belgians had already arrived in the past few days on various flights. Doctors from the Flemish government (Zorg en Gezondheid Agency) are in contact with them. The 10 travellers have agreed to respect the provisional home isolation, to check their body temperature on a daily basis and to immediately report any symptoms or fever. In case of the slightest doubt, a test by the KULeuven reference laboratory will be carried out.

All these measures are in relation to the limited risk that passengers have been exposed to while on board the cruise ship during their stay. One American passenger tested positive for the Covid-19 virus after she left the ship. All other passengers were declared healthy and allowed to travel home.

On Thursday, 4 Belgians had returned while on Wednesday morning and Saturday morning, 4 other Belgians had returned to their homeland.

At, or shortly after their arrival, these persons were contacted by the doctors of the Zorg en Gezondheid Agency and given instructions.

For some of the returnees, it was not possible to determine precisely when they would be back in Belgium. Several return flights were diverted along the way or changed at the last minute. As a result, the doctors appointed by the government were unable to receive them on time and some passengers arranged their own transport home. It was better to avoid that 4 of them use public transport. Anyway, the risk of contamination remains very small for the passengers of the Westerdam. Now that everyone is staying isolated at home as a precaution, the last risks are also addressed.