- Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 14:09 NZDT
- Still current at: 29 May 2020
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There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Belgium.
Local authorities in countries and territories with confirmed cases of COVID-19 may impose containment measures including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.
Such measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend that all travellers consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls and other measures that may apply to you.
For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website before you travel. IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.
As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has some temporary travel restrictions in place in New Zealand. Please refer to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for up to date information.
Terrorist groups, including those based in Syria and Iraq, continue to make threats to conduct attacks in Belgium and across Europe. There is also a threat from domestic-based extremists, including plots that may involve foreign fighters returning to Belgium and Europe from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Brussels hosts a number of international institutions, including the European Union and NATO, which are sensitive locations and could be targeted by terrorists.
Recent terrorist-related incidents have targeted Belgian soldiers and police, on 20 November 2018, a man attacked a policeman with a knife in Brussels.
On 29 May 2018, two female police officers and one passer-by were killed in a shooting in Liege.
On 22 March 2016, two explosions occurred at Zaventem International Airport in Brussels and a further explosion occurred at Maelbeek metro station killing 35 people and injuring over 300.
New Zealanders currently in Belgium are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities. New Zealanders should exercise a high degree of vigilance in public places – particularly at tourist sites, shopping areas, large public gatherings, transport hubs and on public transport.
Authorities encourage people to remain aware of their surroundings at all times. Further security operations are likely and you should expect an increased security presence. If you are in an affected area you should follow the instructions of the Belgian security authorities. Police have asked the public not to comment on security operations via social media.
Petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft and pickpocketing occurs in Belgium and is common in tourist areas, in larger cities and on public transport. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings.
Take particular caution in major railway stations including Brussels Gare du Midi/Zuidstation (Eurostar and Thayls terminal) and Gare du Nord and on public transport. Pickpockets also operate on a number of international train routes so remain vigilant throughout your journey.
Demonstrations and protests are a regular occurrence in Belgium, with a high number occurring in Brussels. New Zealanders are advised to avoid all protests as they can occasionally turn violent.
General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Belgium should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
It is a legal requirement to carry a form of identification with you at all times. Failure to produce them could result in a fine or arrest.
It is illegal to cover your face in public places in Belgium, and failure to comply could result in a fine or detainment. There is no exemption for tourists.
New Zealanders in Belgium are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand Embassy Brussels, Belgium
Street Address Avenue des Nerviens 9/31, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium. Telephone +32 2 512 1040 Fax +32 2 513 4856 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/belgium Hours Mon-Fri 0900-1300 hrs, 1400-1700 hrs
See our regional advice for Europe
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New Zealand Embassy Belgium
Avenue des Nerviens 9/31, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium.
Telephone: +32 2 512 1040
Fax: +32 2 513 4856
Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1300 hrs, 1400-1700 hrs