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Virologist voices concern about expats' Christmas travel during pandemic
Virologist Steven Van Gucht has sounded a warning about the coming Christmas holidays and the amount of expats who will travel home to visit their families before returning to Belgium. Although the rate of coronavirus infections has plateaued for the time being, the Belgian virologist has major concerns for the coming period.
The Christmas holidays, a period of celebration and one where, traditionally, many people travel, could lead to a new spike in coronavirus infections in Belgium, Van Gucht said. "In Brussels, there are many expats who go to their home country during the end-of-year celebrations and then return," he explained. “This could have a dramatic impact on infection rates in our country.”
Van Gucht does not rule out the fact that the Christmas holidays could also have a positive impact on the number of infections: schools are closing and more people are staying at home because they are on leave.
There are even initiatives which encourage expats to stay in favour of travelling, such as 'Adopt me for Christmas' which aims to help expats who find it difficult to get home due to the pandemic by connecting them to families in Belgium with whom to share Christmas dinner. The hope is that the fewer people who travel, the less dramatic the next phase of the pandemic may be.