Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Ukraine to expand entry restrictions due to COVID-19 March 16-30. Further disruptive measures likely at short notice.

This alert affects Ukraine

This alert began 14 Mar 2020 12:17 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Entry restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: 0001 March 16-March 30
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, international transport restrictions, possible freight delays and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Ukraine announced a temporary entry ban for foreign nationals traveling by rail, road, and air from 0001 March 16 for a period of 14 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The ban excludes some foreigners, including those with temporary or permanent residency, particularly representatives of official international organizations and diplomatic missions. Returning citizens will be subject to a mandatory medical examination. Officials will close all passenger land border crossings. Cargo transport will not be affected, though crews of ships, airplanes, and trucks will be subject to mandatory medical testing. Enhanced screening measures could also lead to freight delays at Ukraine ports, particularly Odesa. The government has also announced restrictions on regular international air traffic from March 17, though officials have not specified the perimeters of the measure. The exact duration is unclear. The Ukrainian government has advised its citizens to refrain from traveling abroad unless it is absolutely necessary. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

In addition, authorities in Kyiv and other cities have introduced preventative measures, which include the closure of educational and other public establishments, as well as restrictions on gatherings of more than 200 people. Schools nationwide are closed through April 2. Such measures will likely vary significantly by local authorities and could involve full or partial quarantine requirements at short notice. Restrictive measures relating to the COVID-19 outbreak can change or be introduced with little warning and can be ambiguous and occasionally contradictory.

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.

Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel. Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Contact airlines to inquire about flight cancellations. Confirm health documentation and entry requirements before traveling to Ukraine. Shipping disruptions may occur; consider delaying or rerouting shipments. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. 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
National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine: www.rnbo.gov.ua