Belgium puts Oeste region on ‘red list’

Dear Editor,

Regarding your article ‘Belgium puts Lisbon and Centre back on ‘red list’ strongly advising against visits’, I hereby send you an email I sent to the Belgian embassy (translated into English) as I consider that the fact that Belgium put Central Portugal as a ‘red zone’ is completely wrong.

It puts Portugal in a bad light, especially when I see that Portugal has this virus situation much more under control than Belgium.

Also, the Portuguese people do much more to follow the regulations when compared to Belgian people.

As you mentioned in your article, the situation in Belgium is much more dramatic than it is in Portugal.

“We are now staying in Óbidos for four weeks. To our surprise, we notice that the Oeste region has suddenly become a ‘red zone’ on the Belgian coronavirus map.
We also note that regions in Portugal where the virus is on the rise have remained orange.

In the Oeste region, however, infections have been and are still limited since the start of the coronavirus crisis (see also recent official Portuguese figures).
There is, therefore, no reason to colour this region red.

What’s more, during our stay in this region, we also notice that residents strictly follow all rules.

I would like to ask you to take the necessary steps so that Belgium will colour this region green (or orange) again.

Many Belgians know this region or have a second home there. Undoubtedly, they ask themselves about the decisions that Belgium takes with regard to colouring regions, since this red colour is unjustified for the Oeste region and has no identifiable basis.

There are also no dance halls, parties, etc. In short, it is a region where you can enjoy nature and unwind in a pleasant climate.

Moreover, many Belgians were planning to come and enjoy this beautiful region in October or early November.

Many of them have a job in Belgium and cannot afford to go into quarantine for a week after their stay due to the (unjustified) red zone. They are now cancelling all their bookings and/or flights.

I fully understand the measures that Belgium is taking, but they must be justified with the right foundation and credibility.

I would, therefore, once again, ask you to urge the Belgian authorities to adjust this and thus to give the many Belgians who know this region a sense of credibility with regard to measures that Belgium is taking in the field of combat of the Coronavirus. Thank you.”

Vic Dée