Returns from red zones: compulsory quarantine adopted by the Walloon parliament

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After being adopted unanimously during an urgent debate on Wednesday morning in the Health Committee of the Walloon Parliament, the proposed decree providing for a compulsory quarantine for travelers returning from areas classified as “red” by Foreign Affairs because of the significant emergence of new cases of Covid-19, was approved unanimously, Wednesday evening, by the regional parliamentarians meeting in plenary session.

Even if the opposition regretted the late vote of this text and its legal uncertainty, it rallied to the majority because of “the urgency of having clear decisions”, had explained during the debates the head of cdH group in the Walloon parliament, François Desquesnes. The majority, it recalled that the decree submitted to the vote of the parliament on Wednesday was based on a text already adopted in May 2019, relating to infectious diseases, including tuberculosis. It has been adapted, with in particular a quarantine imposed on the home and not on the hospital, and a fine, in the event of non-compliance with the measures, of up to 4,000 euros. Sentences of 8 days to 6 months in prison are also possible.

“This decree of 2019, which seems even more restrictive since it provides for hospitalization rather than isolation at home, had been submitted to the opinion of the Council of State which, after 30 days of examination, n “had nothing to complain about. We can therefore reasonably think that the provisions of the text today on the table are proportionate”, defended the group leader Ecolo in the Walloon parliament, Stéphane Hazée, while the cdH pointed out the absence for legal review of a text relating to fundamental freedoms. The decree is also limited in time, said the regional Minister of Health, Christie Morreale. It is thus expected that its provisions “end at the end of the pandemic”, she said while humanists argued that it be limited to October 31, 2020. In detail, the text provides in particular that all people who enter the national territory after having stayed in a territory at very high risk of infection by the coronavirus, immediately place themselves in isolation at home or any other suitable place for this purpose. As in other regions, “it will be a quarantine and mandatory testing,” said Minister Morreale.

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