Belgium's Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes announced on Wednesday, June 3, that most businesses will be able to resume operations from Monday, June 8, and international borders will be reopened as of June 15, as the country further relaxes restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The businesses allowed to reopen from Monday include bars and cafes; however, cultural spaces and cinemas will only be allowed to reopen from July 1. Social distancing rules will remain in place.
Belgium's national carrier Brussels Airlines has outlined plans to resume its flight operations from June 15. The airline stated that due to market demand, a reduced schedule will be operating consisting of around 30 percent of the originally planned summer schedule in Europe and 40 percent of the long-haul summer schedule. The airline intends to gradually ramp up operations to a total of 59 destinations by August. A full list of destinations can be found here.
TUI Belgium, an international travel company, and its subsidiary TUI fly Belgium previously announced that all trips, including flights, are temporarily suspended until at least Sunday, June 7. The decision came after the National Security Council prohibited all nonessential trips abroad until Monday, June 8. Affected passengers will receive the option to rebook.
Prime Minister Wilmes announced on May 6, that individuals in-country would be permitted to visit the homes of close friends and family from May 10. However, visits must be limited to four people and social distancing measures practiced. Additionally, the National Security Council confirmed that all shops would be allowed to reopen from May 11, stating that hygiene rules should be adhered to and trips to the shops carried out alone.
People are now permitted to meet in open spaces with up to two individuals not living in their households. The wearing of face masks remains mandatory on public transport. From May 18, schools were permitted to reopen with a maximum of ten students per classroom.
As of June 3, health authorities have confirmed 58,685 cases of COVID-19, including 9522 associated deaths. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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