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Consultative Committee bans non-essential travel and extends isolation period

Today, the federal government and the federated entities convened the Consultative Committee to discuss the current coronavirus situation. In an attempt to stop the spread of new strains of coronavirus, the Consultative Committee has decided to temporarily impose a ban on non-essential foreign travel to and from Belgium.

Restriction of international travel

I. Restriction of non-essential travel

Non-essential trips in and out of Belgium are prohibited from Wednesday 27 January to Monday 1 March 2021. The travel ban will be monitored for road, air, sea and rail traffic.

Anyone travelling to or from Belgium will be required to carry a sworn statement. A form will be made available by the Minister of the Interior. The sworn statement must be linked to the Passenger Locator Form and supported by the necessary documents.

Only essential travel is allowed during this period, i.e. travel for:

1. Compelling family reasons

  • Family reunification;
  • Visits to a spouse or partner who does not live under the same roof, insofar as the stable and long-term character of the relationship can be proven;
  • Journeys in the context of co-parenting, civil and religious marriages, funerals or cremations (of relatives or next of kin).

2. Humanitarian reasons

  • Travel for medical reasons and continuation of medical treatment;
  • Assistance or care to an elderly person, minor, disabled or vulnerable person;
  • Visiting relatives receiving palliative care.

3. Study purposes

  • Journeys by pupils, students and trainees as part of a student exchange program;
  • Researchers with a hosting agreement.

4. Residents of border areas

  • Journeys as part of everyday activities that are also allowed in Belgium

5. Professional reasons when performing work-related activities

6. Miscellaneous

  • Animal care, travel in the context of legal obligations (insofar as these cannot be done online), urgent repairs in the context of vehicle safety and a house move are also considered essential.

II. People travelling from the United Kingdom, South Africa and South America

 As of Monday 25 January, all people travelling to Belgium from the United Kingdom, South Africa or South America must quarantine for 10 days with a PCR test on day 1 and day 7.

III. Additional test upon arrival

In addition to the mandatory negative test result prior to departure, the Consultative Committee would like every non-resident travelling to Belgium to be tested again upon arrival. This can be done with a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. The Consultative Committee has requested that the Interministerial Conference on Public Health, the Testing Task Force and the COVID-19 Commissariat make this mandatory.

Extended isolation period

People who test positive for COVID-19 will now have to isolate themselves for ten days.

After a high-risk contact or upon arrival in Belgium, the duration of quarantine remains ten days. This period may be reduced to a minimum of seven days on condition of a negative test result, where the test was taken, at the earliest, seven days after exposure.

Prospect for non-medical contact professions

At this stage of the epidemic, a reopening of non-medical close-contact professions is not yet appropriate.

This may become possible from 13 February at the earliest, provided that the epidemiological situation evolves favourably.

The Consultative Committee will review this situation on 5 February.

The opening of non-medical close-contact professions will only be possible if the existing protocols are strictly adhered to, supplemented by a series of additional measures such as the obligation to make an appointment, compulsory registration, customers waiting outside and windows and doors that must be open at all times.