Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Serbia expands curfew; residents not allowed to leave their homes on weekends and from 1700-0500 on weekdays indefinitely from April 8.

This alert affects Serbia

This alert began 09 Apr 2020 17:01 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, entry restrictions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Serbia expanded the curfew April 8. Residents will now not be allowed to leave their homes on weekends; curfew hours remain from 1700-0500 on weekdays. Authorities had extended the mandated self-isolation period March 28 from 14 to 28 days for persons who have entered the country after March 14. Persons older than 70 in locations with less than 5,000 inhabitants, and those older than 65 in urban areas with more than 5,000 inhabitants, are not allowed to leave their houses except during 0400-0700 when they are allowed to go grocery shopping. Fines and possibly prison sentences are imposed on violators of the curfew policy.

All businesses except grocery stores and pharmacies remain closed. Nonresident foreign nationals, except foreign freight truck drivers, remain indefinitely barred from entry to the country. Accordingly, officials have indefinitely suspended all international commercial flights at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG); the airport remains open for domestic, humanitarian, and cargo flights. Other measures include:

  • A ban on unnecessary travel
  • Suspension of demonstrations or gatherings of any type, and public or private events of any kind (including cultural, sporting, recreational, or religious events)
  • Closure of gyms
  • Closure of museums and other cultural sites
  • Closure of all schools and suspension of classes and school activities, including professional and university courses, except distance learning classes and medical or healthcare training


Authorities could change the requirements and restrictions based on disease activity in the country.

Background and Analysis
Serbia's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking in the region 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
Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Reconfirm all travel arrangements if traveling to, from or via Serbia. Shipping disruptions may occur; consider delaying or rerouting shipments. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

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
Government of Serbia COVID-19 info: www.srbija.gov.rs/

World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int