‘Belgians not welcome’ after ‘worrying’ number of contamination …


The mayor of Bergen op Zoom finds the increasing number of infections in his municipality ‘alarming’. He suspects that the Festival of Sacrifice and the proximity of Antwerp play a role.

Bergen op Zoom is the city with the most infections in the Netherlands after Rotterdam and Amsterdam. More than 14 percent of the 965 corona tests administered between 1 and 9 August are positive.

It is not immediately clear what the cause of the increase is. Mayor Frank Petter has his suspicions. For example, almost half of the positive tests come from the Moroccan-Dutch community. “The Feast of Sacrifice of a week and a half ago has most likely been the cause of many infections,” says Petter. “We are now checking where all those people have visited.”

Petter is also looking at Antwerp. Although the Netherlands has given the province of Antwerp code orange, Antwerp residents can still easily travel to Bergen op Zoom.

‘Belgians are not welcome right now,’ says the mayor, who would like to see border controls. ‘I think border traffic should be regulated. Then I think of border controls, where only essential journeys are allowed. For that I need the national government. As long as that border remains open, I can take all kinds of measures in Bergen op Zoom, but then it is just mopping with the tap open. ‘

The city is not yet taking any drastic measures for the time being. It mainly focuses on more enforcement and checks of the current measures. The mayor also wants to consult with the catering industry about banning people from the Antwerp region. A new evaluation will follow on Thursday.


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