Belgians who have not yet been infected by then can still catch the virus on a journey and take it back to Belgium. Credit: Belga

In light of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), it is not wise to travel abroad or let the major music festivals take place this summer, according to Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst.

“If the spread of the virus in Belgium ends somewhere in the middle or end of May, that does not mean that it has also died out in other countries where the coronavirus is only now emerging, or even has yet to break through,” he said in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws. Van Ranst is a virologist and epidemiologist at the KU Leuven, who has been widely called upon by Belgian media to shed light on the coronavirus crisis over the last few weeks.

Belgians who have not yet been infected can still catch the virus during their travels and take it back to Belgium, according to him. “I recommend taking a break for international travel,” he said, adding that the Belgian coast or the Ardennes can also be very enjoyable.

Van Ranst also believes that major festivals such as Graspop (18-21 June), Rock Werchter (2-5 July) and Tomorrowland (17-26 July) should be cancelled, like the English Glastonbury festival (24-28 June).


“If you let people from a country where the coronavirus still rages travel to Belgium, you risk reintroducing it here. Additionally, many artists will cancel their performances, and I also expect more travel bans to follow,” he added.

However, small festivals should be allowed, Van Ranst said. “With the condition that we are at zero infections by then. And as we can see in China, the final phase of the epidemic may last for some time,” he added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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