Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Czech authorities begin gradual easing of COVID-19-related restrictions as of April 24. Ban on nonessential movement lifted.

This alert affects Czech Republic

This alert began 24 Apr 2020 15:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: April 24
  • Impact: Some restrictions lifted and eased, significant disruptions remain

Summary
Authorities in the Czech Republic began a gradual easing restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19 from April 24. As of April 24, the ban on nonessential movement has been lifted and people may gather in groups of up to 10 in public, and up to 15 for religious gatherings, provided they observe social distancing by remaining two meters (6.5 feet) apart. Face masks remain compulsory in public. Also from April 24, Czech citizens will be permitted to leave the country, though they will be required to take a test for COVID-19 or quarantine upon re-entry.

From April 27, EU citizens will be permitted to enter the country for business or study purposes provided they can provide evidence they do not have COVID-19 or agree to be quarantined for 14 days; most other foreigners remain barred from entry. Additionally, some businesses of less than 2,500 square meters (27,000 square feet) are permitted to reopen, as are some fitness and sports centers.

Most other nonessential establishments remain closed for the time being, though authorities have laid out a timetable for reopening further businesses, cultural, and leisure facilities on May 11 and May 25 provided disease activity in the country does not worsen. 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 correspond with similar 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.

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.

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.

Resources
Czech Republic Ministry of Health (Czech): www.koronavirus.mzcr.cz

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