Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Kosovo to impose 24-hour curfew with 90 minutes' freedom of movement per day starting 0600 April 15 due to coronavirus activity.

This alert affects Kosovo

This alert began 14 Apr 2020 23:05 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Coronavirus-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: 0600 April 15
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Kosovo plan to extend the nation's existing curfew to 24 hours per day as part of their effort to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) starting 0600 April 15. Under the new edict, residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for 90 minutes a day to perform essential tasks, such as grocery shopping. The specific time frames during which residents may be outside of their homes will be allocated based on the second to last digit of the individual's national identification number for citizens, or the second to last digit of the person's passport number for foreign nationals. Individuals outside of their residences during their assigned time slots may not be accompanied by another person, except in very specifically defined cases. Moreover, all persons are required to wear a face mask or bandanna covering the mouth and nose while in public. Essential workers are exempt from the curfew. Authorities have warned that individuals could face fines of up to EUR 2,000 (USD 2200) for violating the regulation, while legal entities could be fined up to EUR 8,000 (USD 8800) for infractions. The measures will be in force through at least May 4.

The new restrictions are in addition to measures Kosovo had implemented earlier to control COVID-19, All flights to Pristina International Airport (PRN) have been suspended since March 16; medical and military flights continue to operate, however. Land borders have been closed to all foreign nationals since March 16, with Kosovo citizens re-entering being required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Schools, cafes, bars, and shopping centers remain closed indefinitely. Any restrictions could be amended or extended with little to no advance notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar 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.

Resources
Health Ministry of Kosovo: mhs.rks-gov.net

Pristina International Airport: www.airportpristina.com