Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Kosovo to ease certain COVID-19-related measures, including curfew, from May 28. Other restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Kosovo

This alert began 27 May 2020 23:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Starting May 28, authorities in Kosovo plan to ease the curfew implemented as part of efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The curfew will be rolled back to 2100-0500 daily, with residents being allowed to move freely and without restrictions during noncurfew hours. The measure originally consisted of a 24-hour lockdown, allowing residents to exit their homes for only two 120-minute periods per day solely to perform essential tasks. Additionally, authorities will allow all places of worship to resume operations. All persons must still wear protective face coverings while in public.

Construction, real estate, and a limited number of other businesses have already been allowed to resume operation. Restaurants and cafes are permitted to provide takeout services. Schools remain closed. All commercial passenger flights to Pristina Airport (PRN) are suspended indefinitely; cargo, humanitarian, and repatriation flights continue to operate, however. Land borders are closed to all foreign nationals.

Authorities could extend, reimpose, or otherwise amend any restrictions at any time based on disease activity over the coming weeks.

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. 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.

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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