Starting from today, May 23, several Coronavirus-related restrictions have been facilitated in Belgium regarding entry into the country and other domestic restrictions.
On Friday, May 20, Belgium’s Federal Public Service (FPS) Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment announced that starting from the following Monday, the code yellow, which has been effective in Belgium since March 2022, would be put to an end, upon a decision of the Consultation Committee.
The move means that travellers from countries outside of the European Union can now enter the territory of Belgium for non-essential purposes like tourism. At the same time, the authorities have also abolished the obligation to test on the first and seventh day of arrival, as well as the obligation to quarantine for a period of ten days.
It will no longer be necessary to complete a Passenger Locator Form before travelling to Belgium or to present a valid certificate of vaccination, recovery or test result.
“However, this does not apply to travellers coming from a country with a new variant of concern. For them, the current rules continue to apply,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a press release announcing the Coronavirus related changes.
The obligation to wear a mask in public transport and other places has also been abolished. Yet the measure remains effective for hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes or dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists, speech therapists, and pharmacies, as well as in busy and crowded places.
According to the Consultation Committee, the decision to facilitate some of the COVID-19 measures comes as a result of the low number of hospitalizations and the downward trend in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
“The reproduction rate of contaminations and hospitalizations remains permanently below one, which indicates a markedly slowed circulation of the virus. The number of beds occupied by covid patients in intensive care units has also been around 100 for some time and therefore remains well below the 300-threshold,” FPS notes in this regard.
Up until now, Belgium has had some of the strictest Coronavirus entry restrictions in place compared to other EU and Schengen Area countries.
While the Coronavirus quarantine has now been lifted, Belgium’s Risk Assessment Group (RAG) has imposed a quarantine of three weeks for persons who show symptoms of monkeypox, thus becoming the first country in Europe to impose such measures.
Monkeypox is a very rare viral disease found mainly in those who recently travelled to Africa. Cases of monkeypox have already been detected in ten countries outside of Central and West Africa, including here in Denmark, where at least three people tested positive for monkeypox. All three had participated in a gay fetish festival called Darklands.