News item

Code yellow as of Monday, 7 March

 

On 7 March, the corona barometer will move to code yellow. This was decided by the Consultative Committee. The Covid Safe Ticket will disappear in the hospitality industry, as will restrictions imposed on events. It is also the end of the epidemic emergency and of the federal phase of the national emergency plan launched two years ago.

The Consultative Committee notes that infection and hospital admission numbers are on a steady downward trend. The reproduction rate of infections and hospital admissions is consistently below 1, indicating a significantly reduced virus circulation. At the same time, the number of ICU beds occupied by COVID patients is declining, well below the 300-bed threshold. More than 9 million Belgians have received a full basic vaccination and more than 7 million have also received their booster dose.

Based on these developments, the Consultative Committee has decided to move to Code Yellow as of Monday, 7 March. The epidemic emergency will also be lifted next week and the federal phase of the national emergency plan, which was launched at the beginning of the COVID crisis on 13 March 2020 will end.

This specifically means that all restrictions will be lifted, particularly those applicable to the hospitality industry, shops and the events sector.

1. Face masks are recommended and mandatory in healthcare settings and on public transportation

It is still recommended to wear a face mask in indoor areas, during exceptionally busy periods and in places where the 1.5 meter distance cannot be guaranteed.

The use of a FFP2 mask is still recommended for vulnerable people.

After 7 March 2022, masks will no longer be required in schools.

Face masks are still required for people over the age of twelve in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes, and on public transportation.

2. Covid Safe Ticket

The Covid Safe Ticket will no longer be required, especially in the hospitality industry and at events.

3. Rules governing travel as of March 11

It is no longer required to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF). The PLF is only compulsory for people travelling to Belgium with a carrier from a third country that is not on the EU whitelist.

People who travel to Belgium and have one of the three COVID certificates (vaccination, test or recovery) are not subject to any testing or quarantine requirements.

Persons residing in Belgium who do not have any of the three COVID certificates (vaccination, test or recovery) and are traveling from a country with an unfavourable situation must be tested on the first day of arrival (rapid antigen test or PCR test). Countries with an unfavourable situation include those shown in dark red on the ECDC map and third countries that are not on the EU whitelist.

Non-Belgian residents must have a valid COVID certificate (vaccination, test or recovery) when entering Belgium, except for short stays of less than 48 hours without using a carrier.

For people coming from countries or regions with a new variant of concern, current screening and quarantine rules remain unchanged.

An entry ban is still in place for non-essential travel by non-EU citizens residing in a third country that is not on the EU whitelist, unless they have a certificate of vaccination or recovery.

Travelers from countries or regions with a new variant of concern (very high-risk area for VOC) are still prohibited from entering the country.

4. Working from home

The Consultative Committee invites companies and public services to structurally embed working from home, in consultation with the social partners.

5. Monitoring the epidemiological situation

The Consultative Committee continues to monitor the epidemiological situation. Reference is made to five levers mentioned by the World Health Organization to combat a possible resurgence of the coronavirus:

1. Preserve genome sequencing capacity to rapidly detect new variants

2. Continue to focus on vaccination of vulnerable groups and groups of previously unvaccinated people, as high vaccine coverage remains the primary protection against new variants

3. Make antiviral treatments available and affordable, in addition to vaccination

4. Promote air quality through ventilation and filtration

5. Promote international solidarity for the donation and production of vaccines to reduce the risk of new virus variants emerging.