Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Montenegro tightens coronavirus-related restrictions in Podgorica, Niksic, and Cetinje through July 27 due to increase in infection rates.

  • Alert Begins: 21 Jul 2020 11:07 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 27 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Montenegro have tightened certain coronavirus (COVID-19)-related restrictions in Podgorica, Niksic, and Cetinje following an increase in infection rates. The following measures are in place in the three cities through at least July 27:

 

  • Protective face coverings are mandatory in all public indoor and outdoor spaces including on public transport.

 

  • Public gatherings are limited to 40 people at outdoor venues and 20 people at indoor venues.

 

  • Dining and drinking must limit their operating capacities to four guests per table in outdoor areas and two guests per table in indoor areas.

 


Nevertheless, Montenegro continues to allow all citizens of EU countries to enter the country without restriction; no self-isolation or proof of negative COVID-19 tests are required for such travelers. Moreover, the nation's borders are open to travelers from countries that currently have no more than 25 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Travelers from certain non-EU or Schengen Area countries- including Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey, and Ukraine, among other - may also enter without any conditions. Travelers from specific other countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Israel, Singapore, and Canada, are permitted to enter Montenegro without the need to self-isolate, provided they can produce proof of having tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous 72 hours. Authorities update the lists on a regular basis.

International flights are operating at Podgorica Airport (TGD) and Tivat Airport (TIV). International passenger rail services are suspended; international road and maritime borders are open, though delays are likely at entry points as border officials conduct required checks on arrivals.

COVID-related restrictions have been eased to the point where most businesses and facilities have been allowed to reopen provided they comply with strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. Public gatherings of up to 200 people are permitted, except in Podgorica, Niksic, and Cetinje. Most educational facilities remain closed, and face coverings must be worn in public spaces.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The easing of measures in Montenegro is similar to actions undertaken by other regional governments in response to the beginning of the summer tourist season, and lower infection rates of COVID-19. Still, as countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks.

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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