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

 

Updated on July 30th 2020

The National Security Councils held on July 23 and 27 determined that, because of the unfavourable epidemiological development, more restrictive measures had to be taken. These are reported in the press release of the Prime Minister of July 27, 2020. The ministerial decree of 30 June 2020 (French version, Dutch version) on urgent measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 as well as the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of the National Crisis Center were updated accordingly.

 
The following points are important for foreign diplomatic missions, consular posts and international organisations.

 

1. Organizing events and other basic rules.

  • It is recalled that "barrier gestures" remain the best precautionary measures against the spread of the disease: respect for hygiene measures and social distancing, special precautions for people at risk. If a case of COVID-19 is identified in a diplomatic mission, consular post or international organization, it is sufficient to thoroughly clean the working area of the person and common areas such as the kitchen and toilets with usual cleaning products. Promoting general hygiene among the staff must be continued.
  • Wearing a mask from the age of 12 also becomes compulsory outdoors, in high-traffic areas designated locally by the municipal authorities (for example: shopping streets, markets, etc.).
  • Teleworking becomes the norm again. International organizations and missions are encouraged to practice it as much as possible, taking into account their essential tasks and their organizational constraints.
  • If a city or a province locally imposes a curfew or other measures restricting movement, members of missions or international organizations who must travel there for professional reasons are invited to carry a supporting document issued by their employer: for example a certificate of functions or a verbal note. Although such a document is not formally mandatory, it is nevertheless strongly recommended.
  • At the restaurant, at least one customer per table must leave their contact details. This data may be limited to a telephone number or an e-mail address. This allows the competent authorities to notify the customer in case he/she has potentially come into contact with another contaminated customer. Personal data is used exclusively for this purpose and will be destroyed after 14 days.
  • The maximum number of participants in the following events is reduced:
     
    • social events with interaction between participants, such as a reception, a group photo,…: maximum 10 participants (previously: 50). The organizer is responsible for strict compliance with hygiene measures and social distancing.
    • social events without interaction between the participants, such as a conference, a cultural show… with an audience seated in respect of social distancing: maximum 100 participants inside and 200 participants outside (previously: 200/400). Outdoor activities should be preferred if possible; otherwise, the room must be sufficiently ventilated. A risk analysis model according to the type of event, as well as the appropriate measures, is available on the website www.covideventriskmodel.be.

 

2. Travel and associated health measures.

  • The provisions of the  note COVID-19/11 dd. 17th July (PDF, 285.72 KB) remain applicable.
  • In particular, travel ban to and from countries outside the EU+ [1] remain unchanged. These temporary restrictions do not apply to the categories of people with an essential function or need, within the framework of their function. Within the EU+, the evolution of the red and orange areas should be monitored day by day.
  • National rules and possible measures in the country of destination must always be observed.
  • In addition, from August 1st, 2020, all travelers coming to Belgium, whatever their status, their country of origin or their transportation means, must complete in advance the PLF: Passenger Locator Form, available online. Exception: people who travel by other means than plane or boat and who stay less than 48 hours in Belgium or who have stayed less than 48 hours outside Belgium.
  • The fourteen-day self-containment (quarantine) imposed on travelers coming from countries outside the EU+ or from containment zones inside the EU+, does not apply to people with an essential function, but only within the framework of activities strictly related to their function. The members of their families must respect the quarantine.

It is generally advised to observe the officially announced measures and to demonstrate common sense. Everyone has the individual and collective responsibility to respect these principles. Each diplomatic mission or international institution may always decide for itself to take more restrictive measures for their staff or visitors.

The Protocol Directorate of the FPS Foreign Affairs points out 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 host state, in particular the measures taken by the authorities to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations may direct their questions to the Protocol Directorate’s following dedicated email address: corona-protocol@diplobel.fed.be. Please start the title of your email by writing the name of the Sending State or the International Organization.

The direct telephone line for the questions of the missions and international organizations can still be reached at 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 is open twice a week on Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to noon.

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. Wearing a mask is mandatory.

 
Measures at the airport - message of Brussels Airport Company (BAC)

The VIP services have resumed their activities. Upon arrival in the VIP building, the cooperation of the passengers will be asked to respect the following measures:

  • Keep a distance of 1.5 meters from others.
  • A mouth mask is mandatory at the airport and in the aircraft.
  • It is recommended to wash and disinfect your hands regularly.
  • Requests should be send at least 72 hours in advance instead of 48 hours. The number of visitors per delegation will be reduced to 1 instead of 6.

These recommendations will be reviewed at a later stage.

Contact: sylvie.wuiame@brusselsairport.be

 
Official notifications Protocol Directorate

 
Useful information and web links

 

[1]  As a reminder : European Union, United Kingdom, four non-EU Schengen countries (Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and four European micro-states (Andorra, Monaco, Saint-Marino, Holy See).

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