Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Kosovo ease certain COVID-19-related measures from June 1, opening land borders, daycare facilities, and food establishments.

This alert affects Kosovo

This alert began 01 Jun 2020 22:03 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: From June 1
  • Impact: Easing of restrictions; transport and business disruptions remain

Authorities in Kosovo have opened all land border crossings from June 1, which were previously closed in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Travelers entering Kosovo who have a negative PCR COVID-19 test from four days ago or less will not be required to self-isolate, while those who lack a negative test will need to self-isolate for seven days. In addition, from June 1, daycare facilities, kindergartens, cafes, restaurants, bars, and shopping centers will be allowed to reopen.

From May 28, authorities eased the nationwide curfew, rolling it back to 2100-0500 nightly, 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 have allowed all places of worship to resume operations. All persons must still wear protective face coverings while in public.

Schools remain closed. All commercial passenger flights to Pristina Airport (PRN) are suspended indefinitely; cargo, humanitarian, and repatriation flights continue to operate, however.

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

Background and Analysis
The easing of restrictions by the Kosovo government is in line with actions undertaken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the beginning of the summer tourist season, and a decrease in COVID-19 infection rates 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. 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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