In response to the coronavirus, the centres for asylum seekers in Belgium keep applying strict prevention and hygiene measures (for both the staff and the residents).
With respect for the decisions taken by the health authorities of the country, wearing a mask is compulsory everywhere in the reception centres for both the residents (except in their own bedrooms) and the staff.
Like everybody else in Belgium, the asylum seekers have to limit the number of close contacts. They must also be quarantined if they have had high-risk contacts with an infected person.
Volunteers and external visitors are allowed again in the reception centres, in limited number and with respect for the different precautionary measures. Each centre may however adapt the permissions to enter and leave the buildings depending on the sanitary situation.
However, the latest measures of the government have no impact on the transfers of asylum seekers between centres nor on the invitations for the interviews at the Immigration Office and the CGRS in Brussels. Therefore, the examination of asylum applications can continue.
Sensitize the residents
The different measures are told repeatedly to our asylum seekers via posters and multilingual brochures, but also via our information website (in 12 languages) www.fedasilinfo.be that is up-to-date with the latest regulations.
Most asylum seekers have understood the importance of respecting the instructions. If one of our residents does not respect the social distancing or hygiene measures, the centre direction takes the necessary disciplinary measures.
As a reminder, anyone who has registered their asylum application in our arrival centre in Brussels is tested for Covid-19. After a stay of minimum 7 days in the arrival centre, and only if the person shows no symptom of the disease, the asylum seeker is sent to a regular reception centre.
If one resident from one of our reception centres tests positive for Covid-19, this person moves to an isolation room provided for that purpose in the centre. The person who is sick as well as their close contacts (family member, roommate) stay in isolation until the end of the quarantine in order not to infect other residents.
It must be noted that today, the medical situation in the 76 reception centres of the country stays under control. The medical follow-up and the preventive measures made it possible to minimize the number of infected people in the centres.