Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Bosnia and Herzegovina maintains COVID-19 travel restrictions as of July 24. Business and transport disruptions to continue.

  • Alert Begins: 24 Jul 2020 02:19 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 07 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions remain

Summary
Authorities are maintaining international travel restrictions as of July 24 as part of measures aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Most nonresident foreign nationals are barred from entering the country. Citizens and residents of the EU and Schengen Area countries may enter Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) provided they are in possession of a negative COVID-19 test result less than 48 hours old. The land borders with Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia have reopened, and citizens of these countries may enter the country. The international airports in Sarajevo (SJJ), Tuzla (TZL), Banja Luka (BNX), and Mostar (OMO) have reopened for international commercial flights. Foreign business travelers are permitted to enter, though they require an invitation from a local company and must carry a recent certificate declaring them to be COVID-19-free.

Nonessential businesses, including restaurants, bars, and shopping malls, have reopened, subject to social-distancing requirements. Most educational facilities remain closed nationwide. Indoor gatherings of up to 100 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 300 people are allowed. Public transport is operating on a reduced schedule. Individuals must wear a protective facemask when in public and keep at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) away from others. All curfews in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska have been lifted.

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

Background and Analysis
As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to neighborhoods or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary “self-policing” by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, negating the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.

The measures adopted by the government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments 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.

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.


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