“I felt like a criminal because I wanted to visit my parents after a year” – Politics

Fiona Mandos, who works in London for career transition company General Assembly, has struggled to visit her parents in Belgium during the coronavirus crisis.

Before the pandemic, we used to travel to Belgium and the Netherlands four times a year to visit our parents. In July 2020, we were also briefly in Belgium. Things went smoothly after that. This year the ROI will be negative for our vacation in Belgium. The rest is nothing out of the pressure and time we put in.

It started in May. At the time, certain vaccines were approved for pregnant women, but there was no system yet. After the first vaccination, it took some time to get a second dose in time. We thought a double vaccination would be able to travel more easily.

Less than a week later, the UK has become a high-risk area due to the delta variable. Only Belgians were welcome in Belgium. My Dutch husband has not entered the country. Doubly vaccinated Britons were allowed to go to Germany. For a while, we thought about the idea of ​​traveling to Germany and smuggling ourselves across the border in a car. But this would be a fraud. The legal plan to go to Holland, where I am still welcome as a Belgian, was taking shape. When Belgium also relaxed UK rules on July 8, we booked Eurostar tickets to Brussels. Once the UK becomes a high-risk area for two weeks, travelers who have received the dual vaccination of European citizenship will be free after a negative test on the second day after arrival.

I felt like a criminal because I wanted to visit my parents after a year.

Clear rules, you almost think. approx. Because in the UK we have a vaccination certificate in an app with a QR code, just like the Belgian one. However, it was not accepted in Belgium. in the Netherlands, Germany and France.

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Then my parents paid for a consultation with a GP in Belgium, to have them register my vaccinations at Vaccinet. Now just download the CovidSafe app and login with Itsme. No waiting. In the midst of the pandemic, I got a new ID. I did not go to the embassy to activate my ID card. Think when do you need it? And now. After a recent problem with the e-ID reader, I had a Belgian vaccination certificate in my hand. My husband also made an attempt but ran into the official Dutch advice: “More info will follow”. He had to pay €100 for a PCR test and would have to quarantine for ten days.

The Eurostar flight went smoothly. We were immediately able to take our first PCR test in southern Brussels, which turned out to be negative the next day. So you are free. I believed. I got emails and texts that I still have to quarantine for ten days. I called the authorities, and 2.5 hours after the music stopped, I contacted researchers fighting Covid-19. They asked me to send all our documents and wait for their response in quarantine.

After a week in Belgium, both of us were suddenly exempted from quarantine. During that week, we worked 14 hours a day to make up for the time we spent previous weeks constantly changing rules, hanging music and despondency. I felt like a criminal because I wanted to visit my parents after a year. I can go to a club in the UK with thousands of people and kiss them all, but can I see my parents? crazy! There are exceptions in Germany and the Netherlands to the rules for visiting first-degree relatives. Belgium made it almost impossible.

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Before the pandemic, we used to travel to Belgium and the Netherlands four times a year to visit our parents. In July 2020, we were also briefly in Belgium. Things went smoothly after that. This year the ROI will be negative for our vacation in Belgium. The rest is nothing out of the pressure and time we put in. It started in May. At the time, certain vaccines were approved for pregnant women, but there was no system yet. After the first vaccination, it took some time to get a second dose in time. We thought a double vaccination would be able to travel more easily. Less than a week later, the UK has become a high-risk area due to the delta variable. Only Belgians were welcome in Belgium. My Dutch husband has not entered the country. Doubly vaccinated Britons were allowed to go to Germany. For a while, we thought about the idea of ​​traveling to Germany and smuggling ourselves across the border in a car. But this would be a fraud. The legal plan to go to Holland, where I am still welcome as a Belgian, was taking shape. When Belgium also relaxed UK rules on July 8, we booked Eurostar tickets to Brussels. Once the UK becomes a high-risk area for two weeks, travelers who have received the dual vaccination of European citizenship will be free after a negative test on the second day after arrival. Clear rules, you almost think. approx. Because in the UK we have a vaccination certificate in an app with a QR code, just like the Belgian one. However, it was not accepted in Belgium. in the Netherlands, Germany and France. Then my parents paid for a consultation with a GP in Belgium, to have them register my vaccinations at Vaccinet. Now just download the CovidSafe app and login with Itsme. No waiting. In the midst of the pandemic, I got a new ID. I did not go to the embassy to activate my ID card. Think when do you need it? And now. After a recent problem with the e-ID reader, I had a Belgian vaccination certificate in my hand. My husband also made an attempt but ran into the official Dutch advice: “More info will follow”. He had to pay €100 for a PCR test and would have to quarantine for ten days. The Eurostar flight went smoothly. We were immediately able to take our first PCR test in southern Brussels, which turned out to be negative the next day. So you are free. I believed. I got emails and texts that I still have to quarantine for ten days. I called the authorities, and 2.5 hours after the music stopped, I contacted researchers fighting Covid-19. They asked me to send all our documents and wait for their response in quarantine. After a week in Belgium, both of us were suddenly exempted from quarantine. During that week, we worked 14 hours a day to make up for the time we spent previous weeks constantly changing rules, hanging music and despondency. I felt like a criminal because I wanted to visit my parents after a year. I can go to a club in the UK with thousands of people and kiss them all, but can I see my parents? crazy! There are exceptions in Germany and the Netherlands to the rules for visiting first-degree relatives. Belgium made it almost impossible.

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Megan Vasquez

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