Information regarding COVID-19 for foreign diplomatic missions and international organisations established in Belgium

 

Updated on May 28th 2020

The National Security Council (CNS) met on May 13th to discuss the next steps in the exit strategy. The Prime Minister's press release of May 13th is available via this link in French, Dutch, German and English.

A new phase has been started since 18th May. Each step depends on the general health situation on Belgian territory. The ministerial decree of March 23rd 2020 (in Dutchin French), modified by the decrees of April 3rd, 17th, 30th, May 8th, 15th, 20th and 25 May 2020 is still in force.

All basic sanitary and hygiene measures continue to apply. These measures appeal to everyone to stay at home as much as possible and to avoid contacts other than those with close relatives.
These measures apply throughout the national territory. The situation is subject to an evaluation on a daily basis.

Leaving your home is justified only for a limited number of reasons:

  • Going to work if teleworking is not possible but on the condition that you apply the social distancing measures (at least 1,5 m between persons);
  • Going out (by public transportation, by foot or by car) is only allowed for essential reasons such for a doctor’s appointment, going to the open stores and public places with due respect of the access rules, or to help persons in need.
  • Outdoor activities such as walking or biking, that do not imply physical contacts, are allowed. These should be limited to people living under the same roof, family members and two friends. It is important to keep sufficient distance in these cases as well. Some activities may be exercised but only in the framework of sports clubs. Group gatherings (such as picnics) are not allowed, as are car trips for non-essential purposes.

 

For the diplomatic missions and international organisations, this means that:

  • Teleworking is desirable for all activities for which physical presence of a person is not indispensable.
  • Meetings should be held by teleconference as much as possible. No reception, nor event of  any kind is permitted. The organization of elections, requiring a voting in-person participation, must be either, preferably, postponed, or meet all sanitary prerequisites as applicable in places accessible to the public.
  • For necessary trips to the workplace, the holder of the function whose presence is essential must hold the special residence permit issued by the Protocol Directorate and present it at the request of the police. The file number on the back of the document must end with "TI / 00". If the person concerned does not hold a special residence permit, he/she has to present the Belgian identity card or the residence permit from the commune and the foreign identity card or passport. Military staff who have neither a residence permit nor a Belgian identity card can travel with a clearly recognizable identification card/badge of the employer and/or marching orders.
  • It is also useful in the current situation, for the persons concerned to be able to provide a declaration from the Mission/International Organization explaining their job and the need for their presence at work or certifying that they cannot perform their duties from their home. If necessary, a clearly recognizable identification card / badge from the employer and/or a travel order may be useful.
    This declaration is also strongly advised in the case of essential travel to or from abroad.
  • Wearing a protection covering the mouth and nose is compulsory in public transport, airports and schools for anyone from 12 years old. This protection is recommended in all other public places or places where large numbers of people are concentrated.
  • Belgium is not opposed to the departure of members of the missions and their families but may subject their return to Belgium to restrictions  based on the protection of public health.
  • Please also note that the national rules and additional measures in the destination country must be observed.
  • Returning from non-essential travel is not advised. If the return (from a non-essential travel) of a holder of a function is essential, he or she must observe a 14-day home quarantine during which teleworking is permitted.
  • Given the circumstances, it is nonetheless advised, in general, to observe the measures officially announced and to demonstrate common sense. Everyone has the individual and collective responsibility to respect these measures.

Concerning the measures that the authorities may take in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the Protocol Directorate of the FPS Foreign Affairs reiterates that, without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities have the duty to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State.

The Protocol Directorate has put in place a specific email address to answer questions of the foreign diplomatic missions and international organizationsCorona-Protocol@diplobel.fed.be. Please start the title of your email by writing the name of the Sending State or the International Organization.

direct telephone line for the questions of the missions and international organizations can also be reached on the number: 02/501.82.82 (reminder: this number is not intended for private individuals who can consult the Embassy of the country of destination, the travel advice of the FPS Foreign Affairs or their travel agency if they have any questions).

The reception desk of the Protocol Directorate will be open twice a week from 1 June:

  • in the week of 1 June, the reception desk will be open on Wednesday 3 and Friday 5 June (from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm);
  • from 8 June, the reception desk will be open on Monday and Friday (from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm).

The Protocol asks the diplomatic missions and international organizations to only go to our reception desk if absolutely necessary and to observe the following precautions: keep a sufficient social distance and limit the number of persons in the waiting room.

 

Information from Brussels Airport Company (BAC)

The coronavirus has a severe economic impact on the airport and the entire aviation industry. To keep Brussels Airport Company sound and guarantee employment in the long term, Brussels Airport Company did resort to temporary unemployment starting on Monday 23 March. The VIP offices are closed until May 31st (with a possible extension to a later date), but the airport remains open. Cargo flights and essential flights will continue to operate.

Should you have questions, you can contact Mr Diederick Vandekerckhove via e-mail: diederick.vandekerckhove@brusselsairport.be. And as from 1st June (TBC), you can contact Mrs Wuiame via e-mail: sylvie.wuiame@brusselsairport.be.

 

Official notifications Protocol Directorate

 

Useful information and web links

 
* The information on this page is subject to change at any time. Please take this into account.