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“Now is not the best time to travel abroad”

The figures relating to the latest observation period in the coronavirus epidemic have been released. Between 25 June and 1 July Belgium recorded a daily average of 83 cases of coronavirus. The figure is down 11% on the previous seven day observation period. Belgian infection rates have stabilised, but we are clearly not out of the woods yet. Virologist Prof Marc Van Ranst has meanwhile warned that we’re not yet ready for tourist travel.

Belgium and most EU countries have opened their borders for tourists, but the new lockdowns in Spain are giving cause for concern. Virologist Prof Van Ranst says he can understand people travelling abroad to see a partner or children, but he’s no fan of tourist travel just yet.

“Either you ban tourism or you don’t. If you don’t, the situation can’t be controlled. Be careful if you are planning a trip. Don’t do it, if it’s not necessary. Don’t forget 94% of the population hasn’t got any antibodies. They are in the same situation we were in in February before the epidemic. It makes me concerned”.

Three people are believed to have returned from the stricken area of Catalonia where a lockdown is now underway. They have been asked to self-isolate. Prof Van Ranst says that as long as tourism is permitted there will be cases like this all summer.

The Belgian health ministry is now asking anybody returning from the Lleida (Lerida) area of Catalonia to self-isolate for 14 days and to contact their GP for a test.

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