Belgium mandates corona test for direct flights from China
Belgium will be requiring travellers on direct flights from China to present a negative Coronavirus test before departure, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke reported on Wednesday.
The federal government is thus responding to EU recommendations encouraging member States to require Covid-19 tests for travellers from China. However, it is only doing so, initially, for direct flights, which is where the risk of multiplying infections is greatest, it said. A royal decree to this effect is being prepared and could normally be published on Saturday.
Scaling up the measure remains possible, according to the Belgian authorities.
The Swedish presidency of the European Union reported on Wednesday that the EU “strongly encourages member States” to introduce the requirement. A statement issued following a meeting of experts from the 27 member States on the issue said that they had agreed on a coordinated approach.
Coordinated EU approach
This means that all travellers on flights to and from China will be advised to wear a facemask on the plane, while member States are strongly encouraged to require travellers from China to present a negative test result prior to departure. Additionally, member States are encouraged to randomly test travellers from China upon arrival.
China is currently experiencing a major flare-up of the novel Coronavirus. However, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed on Tuesday in a new report that the variants present there are already circulating within the European Union and do not pose a particular danger to the European population, which has built up strong immunity.
Meanwhile, Saturday also marks the first time wastewater from a flight from China will be collected separately in Belgium for Coronavirus research. This is being done as a pilot project.
Inaugural flight Brussels Shaghai © BELGA PHOTO