Czech Republic imposes border crossing and entry restrictions to combat COVID-19 March 12. Associated disruptions likely.

Severity: Critical Alert

This alert began 12 Mar 2020 16:42 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Entry restrictions
  • Location(s): Air and land entry points (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 11
  • Impact: Border disruptions, heightened screening, freight and immigration processing delays

Summary
Czech officials have announced a 30-day nationwide state of emergency March 12 as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measures will include entry restrictions at the country's land borders with Austria and Germany, as well as the temporary barring of travelers entering the country from Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Some cross-border workers, as well as foreign nationals with Czech residency, will not be affected.

Public transport vehicles with more than nine seats will be banned from entering the country, though freight shipments will likely be unaffected. In addition, the state of emergency includes a ban on gatherings of more than 30 people and the closure of public facilities, including sports centers and educational establishments. Restaurants in shopping malls will cease operations, while food and drink establishments elsewhere will reportedly be required to close by 2000. Officials could announce further restrictions with little notice.

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
Check border status and entry requirements before travel. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for processing at airports and border crossings. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays and possibly result in quarantine. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Shipping disruptions may occur; consider delaying or rerouting shipments.

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.

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