Belgium, worried about the contagiousness of the British variant of the coronavirus, has decided to ban “non-essential” travel to and from its territory – including inside the Schengen area – for the entire month of February.
Belgium is putting in place new measures against Covid-19 from January 27 and until March 1, by banning travel “Non-essential”. “We are not going to build a wall around Belgium, we can go to other countries but only for essential reasons,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declared early in the evening on January 22.
The Flemish liberal leader was speaking at a press conference after a government meeting, involving the heads of regional executives, to take stock of the epidemic. Alexander De Croo pointed out the variants of the virus “much more contagious” in circulation in Europe. Hence the need, according to him, to “build ramparts, lines of defense”.
Main measure for Belgians: they will only be allowed to leave the borders for compelling reasons (exercise of co-parenting, medical treatment, justified professional reason). Leisure or pleasure trips are prohibited: “There will be border controls with fines,” ex-Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, president of the Walloon region, told RTBF television channel.
By banning non-essential travel abroad (including within the Schengen free movement area), Belgium is taking the lead in relation to EU recommendations. At the end of a summit of the leaders of the Twenty-Seven on the evening of January 21, the European Union had called for avoiding pleasure travel in the face of a health situation deemed “very serious”.
For almost three months, Belgium has been partially confined, with schools open but multiple sectors of activity closed (cafes, restaurants, theaters, sports, etc.).