A total of 14 organizations in Belgium have addressed an open letter to the country’s Health Minister, Frank Vandenbroucke, urging for the acceptance of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in order to ease the travel process.
The Belgian Association of Travel Management (BATM), together with Belgium and the Brussels Airport Company, as well as other organizations, expressed their concerns regarding the inconsistent measures imposed by each country and region that, according to them, are making the air travel process extremely difficult, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In addition, the organizations also called on Belgium to fall in line with European Union Member States.
“Restarting international aviation will energise the economic recovery from Covid-19. Along with vaccines, testing will play a critical role in giving governments the confidence to reopen their borders to travellers. For governments, the top priority is accuracy. But travellers will also need tests to be convenient and affordable since the cost of PCR testing can completely alter the economics of travel,” the organizations noted in the letter.
Furthermore, the organizations have stressed that rapid antigen testing is as effective as PCR testing in reducing the risk of cross-border transmission.
“Meanwhile, the cost and bureaucracy of PCR tests add huge burdens to…businesses looking to travel. These are important considerations in preparing for a successful restart,” the letter reads.
Even though no concrete decision has been taken regarding the acceptance of the COVID-19 rapid antigen test for travel up to this point, Belgium’s health authorities previously abolished several restrictions after confirming that the country was close to meeting the objective of 70 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated in all municipalities.
The announcement clarified that tourists visiting Belgium would be permitted to attend many events and activities, including private gatherings and other organized activities.
Recently, Brussels Airlines revealed that there was marked an increase in booking of 30 per cent to 40 per cent, while the airline expects that companies will further relax travel restrictions starting from the next month.
However, previously, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that the COVID-19 situation brought Belgium’s tourism sector on its knees, followed by the weak weather conditions. In this regard, the representatives of the tourism sector in Belgium called on the country’s government to extend the temporary unemployment measures.
Such a measure is granted to all temporarily unemployed persons, while aid consists of 65 per cent of their average salary, with a total sum of €2,785.07 per month.