Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Czech Republic extends border controls with Austria and Germany until April 25 to combat COVID-19. Other measures remain in place.

This alert affects Czech Republic

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 21:58 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 25
  • Impact: Border crossing delays; transport, travel, and business disruptions

Summary
Czech officials have extended the controls they had implemented along their country's borders with Germany and Austria as part of efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The controls along the land borders with Germany and Austria, as well as controls at all air borders, will now remain in place through at least April 25.

All other restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 activity will remain in force for the duration of the nation's ongoing state of emergency, which is currently slated to expire April 11. These include a ban on entry by all foreigners, except those having temporary 90-day or permanent residency status, as well as a ban on residents leaving the country. Some persons are exempt from the bans, including those employed within 100 km (62 miles) of the Czech border. As of March 31, anyone allowed to enter the Czech Republic must self-isolate for 14 days.

Authorities have also ordered the closure of public facilities, including sports centers and educational establishments, as well as restaurants and other public catering establishments for the duration of the state of emergency. All residents are required to stay at home, unless carrying out essential tasks, such as working in essential businesses; shopping for food, medication, or other basic goods; seeking medical assistance; or visiting family. As of March 26, residents may only exit their homes in groups of no more than two persons; families and individuals conducting essential work are exempt from this requirement Authorities will almost certainly extend the state of emergency over the coming days as its April 11 expiration date approaches, and potentially amend it to include stricter measures depending on disease activity.

Background and Analysis
The Czech government's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, 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 World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
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. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

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

Czech Republic Ministry of Internal Affairs: www.mvcr.cz