Thursday, June 17, 2021

Belgium Must Ban Brits From Entering the Country, State Secretary Says

Belgium should impose stricter restrictions for travellers coming from the United Kingdom in order to prevent the further spread of the Delta variant of Coronavirus, the State Secretary for Asylum and Immigration, Sammy Mahdi, has urged.

“I’m very concerned, but you can only turn that concern into a political decision when experts have reported that we should be concerned about the variant and that we should impose travel restrictions,” Mahdi said.

According to the Public Health England (PHE) research published on June 11, the Delta variant is 60 per cent more contagious than the previous variant, and it is more likely to cause hospitalisation, reports.

The most recent data from health institute Sciencasno shows that the Delta variant of Coronavirus accounts for almost four per cent of all infections in Belgium, and the trend is on the rise.

Mahdi stressed that Belgium is in a “very crucial period” since many citizens are getting vaccinated, and an entry ban put in place for the UK would help prevent this hard work from turning into an unfortunate situation.

Due to the Delta and other variants increasing rates, Belgium previously banned non-essential travelling from India, Brazil, and South Africa.

Mahdi also suggests that if entry restrictions for UK travellers start applying, only Belgium citizens or those with the main residence in the country can enter the UK. Transport personnel and diplomats would make an exception.

Entry Restrictions Belgium Currently Applies for UK Travellers

Currently, the UK is coloured red on the European travel map, meaning that the only people coming from the UK who can enter Belgium are those who hold Belgian citizenship, live in Belgium or any other EU or Schengen zone country. Therefore, non-essential travelling from the UK is strongly advised against.

However, British travellers arriving in Belgium are required to undergo quarantine and get tested on the first day and the seventh day of their quarantine. Those who don’t respect the quarantine and testing requirements can risk a fine of €250 or £214.05.

What Will Change in July for Travellers to Belgium?

Starting from July 1, the EU COVID-19 vaccination passport will be launched in all European countries meaning that travelling within the EU for all those vaccinated, recently tested negative or recovered from the virus, will be free of quarantine requirements.

For third-country travellers, including the UK, a document proving the holder has been vaccinated with one of the European Medicine Agency authorised jabs (Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Janssen) and a negative PCR test on the day of arrival must be provided in order to avoid the quarantine requirement.

Even after July 1, if entry restrictions start applying for the UK, only people with Belgian nationality or the main residence in Belgium can enter from the UK.

According to Mahdi’s spokesperson, the implementation of entry requirements is expected to be discussed during Friday’s Consultative Committee.

How Is The Delta Variant of Coronavirus Different?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the most common symptoms of the Alpha variant of Coronavirus are:

  • A fever,
  • A dry cough,
  • Fatigue,
  • A loss of taste and smell.

Whereas the Delta variant most common symptoms don’t include loss of smell or taste but contain the following:

  • A headache,
  • A sore throat,
  • A runny nose.

According to a study by PHE, both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are effective against the Delta variant, but only after both doses have been administered.

  • The Pfizer vaccine has 96 per cent efficiency against hospitalisation after both doses are administered
  • The AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation after two doses of vaccination

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