Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Bosnia and Herzegovina ease COVID-19 related restrictions from April 24; curfew lifted, mandatory quarantine replaced with self-isolation.

This alert affects Bosnia and Herzegovina

This alert began 24 Apr 2020 20:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have eased certain restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of April 24. The government has lifted the nightly 2000-0500 curfew. Additionally, persons above the age of 65 may leave their homes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between the hours of 0900-1300, while persons below the age of 18 may leave their homes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays between 1400-2000. Individuals in these two age groups must wear a protective face mask when in public and keep at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) away from others.

Moreover, travelers entering the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina will no longer be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government-designated facility; they must, however, undergo a 14-day self-isolation period. Freight transporters, train conductors, and aircraft pilots and cabin crew are exempt from this measure.

In the Republika Srpska region, however, the nightly 2000-0500 curfew will remain in place until at least May 10. Persons entering Republika Srpska will also still be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a government-designated facility. Certain small businesses, such as electronics shops, vehicle repair shops, and dry cleaners, will be allowed to reopen in Republika Srpska.

The suspension of all passenger flights and ban on nonresidents entering Bosnia and Herzegovina remain in effect; only flights carrying medical supplies are permitted to enter the country. Educational institutions remain closed nationwide, as do most public gathering places such as bars and restaurants. Essential businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, remain open.

Any restrictions may be extended or otherwise amended with little to no advance notice over the coming days, depending on disease activity in the country.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Bosnian Ministry of Health: www.fbihvlada.gov.ba

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int