Belgium to reopen borders for EU countries

Belgium will allow almost all businesses to reopen on June 8, including cafes and bars, after its lockdown to combat the coronavirus, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said on Wednesday, although social distancing measures will remain. Wilmes said cultural activities would continue without spectators until July 1, when cinemas and other cultural spaces can open with a maximum of 200 people. Gyms can reopen from Monday, but with no access to changing rooms. Wilmes recommended not greeting friends with kisses or hugs. Gatherings should be no larger than 50 people, Reuters reported.

From 15 June, the borders will open for travel to and from the European Union, including the United Kingdom and the four other Schengen countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway). However, it will be up to each country to decide whether or not to open its borders.

The decision has been taken on June 3, during a meeting of the National Security Council, in which was also present the Minister-President, approved the transition to Phase 3 of the phase-out plan starting on June 8. Several other EU countries have announced they will open their borders to EU nationals starting from June 15, including Greece, France and Iceland, Schengen Visa Info wrote.

Belgium, where the European Union and NATO are headquartered, imposed a coronavirus lockdown on March 18. With 9,566 deaths from the outbreak, including in care homes, densely populated Belgium suffered one of the world’s highest per capital tolls from COVID-19. But cases have dropped off dramatically in recent days, with just 70 new confirmed infections reported on Tuesday, down from around 700 hospitalisations a day in late March, according to Reuters.

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