Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reopen airports and all land border crossings from June 1. Additional measures to be eased.

This alert affects Bosnia and Herzegovina

This alert began 29 May 2020 20:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: From June 1
  • Impact: Easing of restrictions; business and travel disruptions remain

Summary
Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina will reopen its four international airports located in Sarajevo (SJJ), Tuzla (TZL), Banja Luka (BNX), and Mostar (OMO) for commercial flights from June 1, having closed the airports on March 30 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In addition, authorities will reopen land border crossings to the neighboring countries of Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia; citizens of these countries are now allowed entry into Bosnia.

The previous COVID-19 related mandatory 14-day self-isolation for Bosnian citizens on arrival in the country was lifted from May 21; the measure remains in place for foreigners traveling to the country with some exceptions, including diplomats, freight transporters, train conductors, pilots, and cabin crews.

Officials will allow cafes, restaurants, bars, and shopping malls to reopen from May 31. Schools remain closed nationwide. Indoor gatherings of up to 100 and outdoor gatherings and outdoor gatherings of up to 300 people are allowed. Public transport remains open, albeit with a reduced schedule. Many nonessential businesses remain closed. Individuals must wear a protective face mask when in public and keep at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) away from others. The government has also lifted the nightly 2000-0500 curfew in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; in the Republika Srpska region, the curfew remains in place indefinitely.

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.


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