Belgian travel rules point way to re-opening travel from UK – with heavy restrictions

As the European Union works on new rules to allow travel from the UK to re-open, restrictions announced overnight by the Belgian government reveal what could be a tough regime for British travellers.

The government in Brussels has extended the suspension of passenger travel from the UK for a further day until 11.59pm on Tuesday because of fears of a new mutant strain of coronavirus.

When the borders re-open to arrivals from the UK at midnight, only Belgian nationals or people with permanent residence in Belgium will be able to enter.

Other travellers from the UK will not be able to enter Belgium until midnight on 31 December, which happens to coincide with the end of the Brexit transition phase.

“From 1 January, non-residents will be able to enter if they provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test upon check-in at the airport or Eurostar terminal,” says the UK Foreign Office.

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“This test should be taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Belgium.”

On arrival in Belgium, travellers from the UK will be required to self-isolate for a week. They will then need to take another Covid-19 test before leaving quarantine.

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The new rules would be unworkable for essential transport workers, including lorry drivers and Eurostar train crews. It is thought that would be exempt from the quarantine requirement.

Were similar rules to be imposed for British arrivals across the EU, they would dissuade many holiday and business trips to Europe.

The far larger number of travellers arriving from other countries to Belgium face stricter measures from Christmas Day.

The FCDO says: “From 25 December 2020, those who are not resident in Belgium will need to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test in order to enter Belgium.

“This test should be taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Belgium.”

The Belgian government warns its citizens: “You should not travel abroad.” A nationwide curfew is operating between midnight and 5am.

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