Norway Covid-19 travel guidelines: Belgium likely to be next ‘red’ country

Norway Covid-19 travel guidelines: Belgium likely to be next 'red' country
A chapel of the Sint-Rochus Church in Antwerp, Belgium, which has been converted to a Covid-19 testing centre. Photo: AFP
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has advised the government of an increase in coronavirus infections in Belgium, a sign that warning against travel to the country could be on the way.

Infection figures for Belgium are currently increasing and are over the rate set by Norway for designating an EEA or Schengen country as “red” or inadvisable for travel.

That makes it likely Belgium could follow Spain in changing from ‘green’ to ‘red' on the Norwegian foreign ministry’s travel advice, national broadcaster NRK reported on Tuesday.

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Covid-19 infections in Belgium have passed 29.1 per 100,000 residents for the last two weeks, according the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU agency monitoring the data.

That is well above 20 per 100,000, the rate set by Norway’s health authorities for deciding whether an EEA or Schengen country is classed as ‘green’ or ‘red”’.

Once a country is ‘red’, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not strictly necessary to that country, and self-quarantine is required for travellers returning or arriving from it. This also means people cannot travel from 'red' countries to Norway for tourism.

 

“We are therefore advising (the government) now that Belgium may be marked as red in the list of countries for which quarantine is required for travel into Norway,” NIPH senior doctor Siri Helene Hauge told NRK.

Other currently-green countries are also displaying increased infection numbers, with the Czech Republic also exceeding 20 per 100,000 at the current time. Austria is just below at 19.1. France is at 16.0 and the UK 15.0.

A final decision on updated travel advice will be taken by the government at “the end of this week”, according to an NIPH statement.

If the change becomes reality on Friday, travellers returning from Belgium after midnight on Friday will be subject to the 10-day quarantine requirement.


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