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Coronavirus and travel

Belgium bans non-essential travel to a dozen EU zones as Covid-19 cases rise

"Wearing a mask is mandatory from age 12", says this sign in the Belgian city of Antwerp, 27 July 2020.
"Wearing a mask is mandatory from age 12", says this sign in the Belgian city of Antwerp, 27 July 2020. REUTERS/Bart Biesemans
3 min

Belgium has banned non-essential travel to areas of France, Spain and elsewhere in Europe, imposing a quarantine and screening for anyone returning from the zones on the government's 'red list'. This comes after country saw a 78 percent increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 in the past week.

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The Belgian government on Saturday published a color-coded list of zones in European countries where the presence of the coronavirus is considered at a worryingly high level.

Its citizens are banned from travelling to 'red' zones, except for reasons of absolute necessity and face mandatory quarantine and screening if they return from these areas.

Citizens are urged increase vigilance when it comes to areas considered 'orange', where quarantine and screening are 'recommended' but not enforced.

Green zones indicate that travel is permitted, however, from Saturday, any person returning to Belgium from abroad or who wishes to stay more than forty-eight hours in the country must complete an identification form, providing their contact details and the places where they have stayed during the fourteen last days.

  • See the full list and details here

In terms of France, the department of Mayenne (Pays de la Loire) is on the 'red' list, where at least 15 new clusters of Covid-19 have been identified. Wearing a mask in 69 towns of this department became mandatory on Monday.

Elsewhere in France, several areas appear on the 'orange' list, including the Paris region (except the department of Seine-et-Marne), the Pays de la Loire, the Nord department, Haut-Rhin, Haute-Savoie, Meurthe-et-Moselle and the Vosges.

Also on Belgium's 'red' list are the areas of Vaud, Valais, and Geneva in the Lake Geneva region in Switzerland.

Spain is also concerned by the new restrictions, with mandatory quarantine and screening for people returning from regions such as Navarre, Aragon, Barcelona and Lérida in Catalonia.

The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also included on the 'red' list Bulgarian regions, several areas of Romania, the city of Leicester in the United Kingdom and any country outside the EU and Schengen zone.

Belgium is facing a rebound of the coronavirus, particularly in the Antwerp region, where last week new restrictions came into force, such as wearing masks in all public places, and reducing authorized contacts and gatherings.

A curfew has been declared from 11.30 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Antwerp.

The country has reported over 68,000 cases and 9,841 deaths - the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 compared to its population, with 86 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

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