Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Kosovo reapplies the 2100-0500 curfew to Pristina, Prizren, Ferizaj, and Vushtrri as of July 5 due to coronavirus disease-related activity.

  • Alert Begins: 05 Jul 2020 02:03 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 10 Jul 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 have reapplied the 2100-0500 curfew in Pristina, Prizren, Ferizaj, and Vushtrri as of July 5, limiting all movements. The measure was reimposed in response to an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Authorities are also ordering 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.

The imposition of these restrictions follows a series of measures aimed at easing restrictions. Several businesses and public facilities have been permitted to reopen, including daycare centers, kindergartens, places of worship, cafes, restaurants, bars, and shopping centers. All persons must still wear protective face coverings while in public. Schools remain closed.

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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