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

 

Updated on April 8th 2020

The National Security Council of March 27 decided to extend the containment measures by two weeks, until April 19. They can then be extended for another two weeks, until May 3. By ministerial decree of April 2nd modifying the decree of March 23rd 2020, (link to French version)(link to Dutch version), some clarifications were made as regards the restrictions already in place.

The Protocol Directorate wishes in the first place to thank the diplomatic missions and international organisations for their cooperation in implementing these measures.

These measures appeal to everyone to stay at home as much as possible and to avoid contacts other than those with close relatives. General hygiene measures continue to apply.

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  pharmacist’s, the bank, the post office or to go to the supermarket (supermarkets and food stores will remain open but with restrictions on the number of customers allowed in at the same time), to go to the petrol station or to help persons in need.
  • Public transportation will continue to run but with adjusted time schedules and the strict application of social distancing measures.

Outdoor activities such as walking or biking are allowed and even recommended, however: not in group and only in the time frame necessary. These should be limited to people living under the same roof, family members and a friend. It is important to keep sufficient distance in these cases as well. Group gatherings of more than 2 persons (such as picnics) are not allowed, as are car trips for non-essential purposes.

All shops other than those mentioned above are completely closed. Petrol stations remain open for fuel. Healthcare professionals such as dentists, osteopaths and physiotherapists may continue to pursue their profession, but all non-urgent medical care should be postponed.

 

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 possible organization of elections must be postponed.
  • 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.
  • 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 an email address specifically to respond to any 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 (for information: 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 remains open only on Friday from 09:00 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, BAC will resort to temporary unemployment starting on Monday 23 and ending on 19 April.

All VIP lounges are closed, but the airport remains open. Indeed, 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 the 13th of April, 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.