Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Czech Republic expands entry restrictions from March 16 to combat COVID-19. Further disruptive measures possible at short notice.

This alert affects Czech Republic

This alert began 14 Mar 2020 13:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Entry restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 11
  • Impact: Entry and exit restrictions, border disruptions, heightened screening, freight processing delays; possible business disruptions

Summary
Czech officials will expand their preventative restrictions from March 16 as part of the 30-day March 12 nationwide state of emergency to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). From 0001 March 16, authorities will implement a temporary entry ban on all foreigners, except those staying temporarily over 90 days or with permanent residence. The government has also placed a ban on citizens and foreigners with temporary or permanent residence from leaving the country from 0001 March 16. Some citizens are exempt from the ban, including those employed within 100 km (62 miles) of the Czech border. Border controls are being maintained at the country's land borders with Austria and Germany, with access allowed only at designated points, until further notice. The border with Slovakia is temporarily closed. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Public transport vehicles with more than nine seats will be banned from entering the country, though freight shipments will likely be unaffected. In addition, the state of emergency includes a ban on gatherings of more than 30 people and the closure of public facilities, including sports centers and educational establishments. Restaurants and other public catering establishments will cease operations. Officials could announce further restrictions with little notice.

Background and Analysis
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.

Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel. Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Contact airlines to inquire about flight cancellations. Confirm health documentation and entry requirements before traveling to Czech Republic. Shipping disruptions may occur; consider delaying or rerouting shipments. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. 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
Czech Republic Ministry of Health (Czech): www.koronavirus.mzcr.cz