Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Serbia to impose weekend lockdown 1800 April 30-0500 May 4 due to COVID-19 activity. Gradual easing of restrictions to continue.

This alert affects Serbia

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 17:07 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Authorities in Serbia plan to impose a nationwide lockdown over the International Labor Day weekend as part of the government's effort to combat coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure will be in effect 1800 April 30-0500 May 4, during which time residents must remain inside their homes unless otherwise authorized.

Despite the holiday restrictions, authorities are continuing their plan to gradually ease existing restrictions. As of April 27, a limited number of businesses, including gyms and hairdressers, have been permitted to open provided they follow strict hygiene requirements. Moreover, intercity transport has resumed. Officials will likely continue to ease restrictions on travel and businesses in the coming weeks, depending upon disease activity in the country.

Nonetheless, nonresident foreign nationals remain indefinitely barred from entering Serbia, with the exception of foreign truck drivers transporting freight. All international commercial passenger flights remain suspended at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG); the facility is open solely for domestic passenger air travel, as well as humanitarian and cargo flights. Other restrictions still in force include:

  • A daily curfew from 1800-0500
  • 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 many nonessential businesses and public spaces
  • Closure of all schools and suspension of classes and school activities, except distance learning classes and medical or healthcare training


All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Serbian government are similar to 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.


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