Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Kosovo imposed a 2100-0500 curfew on four additional cities, July 13, following a spike in COVID-19 cases.

  • Alert Begins: 14 Jul 2020 07:52 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 03 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Kosovo imposed a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) related 2100-0500 curfew on July 13 in Gjilan, South Mitrovica, Fushe Kosove, and Strpce; this curfew is in addition to the preexisting curfew in place since July 5 in Pristina, Prizren, Ferizaj, and Vushtrri. Within these areas, all non-essential movement is suspended. Citizens over the age of 65 and those with chronic diseases can leave their homes only between 0500-1000 and 1800-2100. All persons must still wear protective face coverings and maintain social distancing while in public.

Authorities have also closed down all kindergartens and suspended recreational, cultural, and sporting activities across the entire country. Furthermore, nationwide public gatherings of more than five people, as well as religious services, are suspended. Authorities previously ordered all restaurants and bars nationwide to close between 2100-0500, except for service in open spaces and to serve takeaways. It is unclear how long these tighter measures will remain in effect.

In addition, authorities are requiring citizens of North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test no older than 72 hours if entering Kosovo by land from July 13. Travelers transiting through Kosovo, as long as they leave Kosovo within three hours of entry, as well as travelers arriving at the Pristina International Airport (PRN) who are willing to sign a statement promising to leave Kosovo within three hours, are exempt.

The imposition of these restrictions follows a series of measures aimed at easing restrictions allowing many non-essential businesses to reopen. Pristina Airport (PRN) reopened June 28 following a three-month closure in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As of the same date, the government also lifted its ban on air and land travel from countries with high and medium risks of COVID-19. Although the official requirement to do so was lifted June 8, authorities continue to recommend that all arriving travelers have proof of having tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous four days upon entry. All of Kosovo's land border crossings have been reopened since early June.

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

Background and Analysis
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.


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