Ukraine to close border crossings due to COVID-19, 2200 March 12-April 3. Further disruptive measures likely at short notice.

Severity: Critical Alert

This alert began 12 Mar 2020 15:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Entry restrictions
  • Location(s): Border crossings with Belarus, Hungary, and Poland (map)
  • Time Frame: 2200 March 12-April 3
  • Impact: Border disruption, processing delays

Summary
Reports indicate that Ukrainian officials will temporarily close 170 of the country's 219 border crossings from 2200 March 12-April 3 as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Road, rail, and pedestrian crossings in the Lviv, Transcarpathian, and Volyn oblasts along Ukraine's borders with Belarus, Hungary, and Poland will reportedly close. Crossing points with Moldova, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia are also likely to be impacted and congestion is possible at border crossing points that remain open. Enhanced screening measures could also lead to freight delays at Ukraine ports, particularly Odesa. It is unclear whether Ukrainian airports will be affected. Officials have already suspended air connections with China, and reports suggest that the government is considering restricting flights to European countries, including Italy, Germany, and France.

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 March 12-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
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm flight schedules with your airline before travel. Confirm health documentation and entry requirements before traveling to Ukraine and 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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