From Thursday 31 December, new requirements come into force for anyone entering Belgium from a red zone. Belgium currently defines the majority of the rest of the world as a COVID red zone with the exception of Iceland, Japan, Corsica and some parts of Ireland, Norway and Greece.
All travellers, regardless of citizenship or place of residence, must quarantine and take two coronavirus tests, seven days apart. The first test should be taken on the day of arrival, with the second seven days after. Only if the result of the second test is negative can their quarantine end.
The decision followed an emergency meeting of the coronavirus consultative committee on Wednesday 30 December as Belgium anticipates an influx of travellers returning to the country from abroad over the next few days, despite the formal government advice not to travel over the festive season.
"We want to be clear," said Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo. "This clarity translates into a firm and formal obligation to self-isolate after your holiday and to take a COVID test twice."
It is hoped that the tougher rules would also "be dissuasive" for anyone considering a foreign holiday during the Carnival half-term break.