Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Slovakia eases travel restrictions with eight countries as of May 27. Significant COVID-19-related travel and business disruptions remain.

This alert affects Slovakia

This alert began 28 May 2020 15:03 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Slovakia eased further restrictions introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19 from May 27; citizens and residents of Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary may travel without restriction between these three countries provided they return to their home country within 48 hours. Also from this date, citizens and residents of Slovakia can travel to Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and Switzerland and will not be required to undergo testing or self-isolation on return to Slovakia provided their trip was less than 48 hours; countries other than Czech Republic and Hungary are likely to be enforcing some form of additional entry restrictions. Moreover, officials do not intend to extend the nation's ban on incoming flights beyond May 28, allowing some limited services to resume dependant upon airport and carrier schedules.

Additionally, Slovakia is continuing to gradually ease domestic restrictions under its ongoing COVID-19 recovery plan. Since May 20 most businesses and establishments are permitted to reopen on a limited basis provided they implement strict social distancing and hygiene requirements.

Nevertheless, protective masks or coverings must be work in public unless it is possible to keep 5 meters (16 feet) from others, and most arrivals not included in the exclusions above are subject to mandatory isolation in a state quarantine center until they have cleared a health screening. Persons testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to remain in isolation until they have recovered. Persons testing negative are required to self-isolate at home for a cumulative period of 14 days.

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 taken by the Slovakian government are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, 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
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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