Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Czech Republic ease further COVID-19 restrictions as of May 25; significant business and travel disruptions remain.

This alert affects Czech Republic

This alert began 26 May 2020 11:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Mild business and travel disruptions

Authorities in Czech Republic further eased restrictions introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19 as of May 25. Restaurants, cafes, bars, hair and beauty salons, fitness and leisure centers, and many cultural sites are permitted to reopen provided they implement strict hygiene and social distancing measures. Individuals are no longer required to wear facemasks in open public spaces, but are required to wear them in enclosed public spaces such as public transport and in cafes and restaurants, and events of up to 300 people are now permitted. These measures are in addition to measures relaxed April 27 and May 11, meaning that most restrictions on travel and businesses are now relaxed other than the social distancing and hygiene requirements.

As of April 27, EU citizens are permitted to enter the country for business or study purposes, provided they produce evidence that they do not have COVID-19 or agree to be quarantined for 14 days. As of May 26, border crossings with Austria and Germany are open and authorities will only conduct spot checks on travelers, though if stopped travelers must still produce a negative COVID-19 test or agree to be quarantined for 14 days. As of May 27, citizens of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia may travel freely between these three countries without restriction provided they return to their home country within 48 hours.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Czech government are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (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.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. 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. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

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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