Belgium criticizes German rules for Christmas


BElgiens Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has criticized the planned relaxation of the Corona rules over Christmas in Germany. “If there is something that the virus likes, then the fixed, especially with changing participants, we absolutely have to avoid that,” said Vandenbroucke on Friday evening after a report by the Belga agency. “That’s why I think that our neighboring countries are not doing what is appropriate.”

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo had advised against traveling to risk areas abroad and announced controls at the Belgian borders to see whether travelers had filled out the required form. Then random checks should be carried out to determine whether the required quarantine time is being adhered to. “We see that the numbers in our country are developing well,” said De Croo. “The last thing we want is to import the virus back into Belgium.”

Despite falling corona numbers, Belgium had decided to maintain strict contact restrictions until at least mid-January and also over Christmas. Households can only invite one additional person. Only single people are allowed to receive two friends or relatives at the same time on the holidays – the so-called “Knuffelcontacte”. In Germany, up to ten people should be allowed to celebrate together at Christmas, plus children.

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Little Belgium at times had the highest number of corona cases per capita in Europe and therefore imposed strict requirements at the beginning of November. On Friday, the government and regions agreed on minor easing: From Tuesday, all shops will be allowed to reopen, instead of just grocers and shops with essential goods. Museums and swimming pools are also allowed to reopen. Bars, cinemas and event halls will remain closed, as will hairdressers and other shops with physical contact. A nationwide firecracker ban applies over the New Year.

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