Belgium to lift face mask mandate for public transportation


BRUSSELS, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Belgium's Consultative Committee (Codeco), made up of representatives of the country's federal, regional and language community governments, decided on Friday to end the face mask mandate on all forms of public transportation effective May 23.

However, the wearing of face masks remains mandatory in hospitals, medical practices and pharmacies.

The authorities still recommend mask wearing and proper ventilation in crowded places and in care facilities, such as nursing homes.

Also from May 23, the general obligation to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) for travelers arriving in Belgium will be lifted, and it will no longer be necessary either to present a valid vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or test result.

The ban on non-essential travel from outside the European Union (EU) will be lifted, as will the requirement to get tested or observe a 10-day quarantine. However, this will not apply to travelers arriving from a country where a new virus variant of concern has been detected.

Codeco has also deactivated the coronavirus barometer, which has been in code yellow since last March.

According to figures published on Thursday by the Sciensano public health institute, between May 9 and May 15, an average of 3,536 new COVID-19 infections were reported per day. This is a 19 percent decrease from the previous week.

To date, Belgium has recorded 4,134,293 COVID-19 cases and 31,675 deaths.

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