Belgian health ministers have decided that from June 24, fully vaccinated people will not have to quarantine after being exposed to a high-risk contact if they test negative immediately, TheSchengen.com reports.
The interministerial health conference decided on Wednesday that “fully vaccinated and at-risk contacts should only be tested on the first day, and if negative, they will be exempted from the second test and quarantine.”
Currently, the Belgian government mandates at least seven days of quarantine for people who have had high-risk contact with an infected person. If the test result is negative on the seventh day, they leave quarantine. However, if they are not tested, a ten-day quarantine requirement is mandatory for them.
During the meeting, the ministers stressed that “in case of refusal of the test, a ten-day quarantine must be respected.”
The ministers also indicated that people will not be considered “fully immune” until 14 days after being vaccinated with two or one doses of the vaccine. Like other EU countries, Belgium only approves vaccines recommended by the European Medicines Agency (Moderna, Janssen, AstraZeneca and Pfizer).
The current quarantine rules will also remain in effect for people who test positive for coronavirus after full vaccination.
About 5.7 million people in Belgium (62.8 percent of the adult population) have already received the first EMA-approved coronavirus vaccine. On the other hand, more than 3.2 million (35.2 percent of adults) have been fully vaccinated.
The next Ministerial Health Conference will announce the rules for schools, boarding schools and childcare institutions in early July.
The country has just launched the European COVID-19 vaccination passport, with the aim of facilitating travel for EU citizens who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus.
Although the Belgian government announced that COVID-19 passports will be presented on July 1, the country has followed the example of several European countries by releasing COVID-19 certificates about two weeks before the deadline.
Currently, Belgium faces concerns about the delta variant of the virus, as nearly four percent of the population has been infected with this mutation of the coronavirus.
Then, Belgium’s Minister of State for Asylum and Migration, Sami Mahdi, demanded that the government impose entry restrictions on travelers from the UK after Delta-type infections doubled in a week.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the past 24 hours, the UK has reported ten deaths from coronavirus infection and 7,587 new positive cases. In contrast, Belgium has reported two deaths and one new positive case.