Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced on Wednesday, June 3, that free movement between the Czech Republic and Slovakia would be restored as of midnight (local time). The announcement comes as both countries start easing travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Czech Republic lifted certain travel restrictions from May 11. International rail and bus routes have been allowed to resume operations; however, whether these operate also depends on the restrictions of neighboring governments. Non-EU citizens may also enter the country if they are coming for seasonal or healthcare work.
Those wishing to travel abroad will be required to present a medical certificate to show that they do not have COVID-19, or undergo mandatory quarantine for a 14-day period when they return to the country. Shops with floor space of less than 2500 sq. meters (26,909 sq. ft.), universities, gyms, and libraries reopened on Monday, April 27. Additionally, as of May 11, shopping centers and hairdressers were allowed to reopen while hotels, restaurants, and theaters were allowed to resume services on May 25.
The government stated that these measures will be under constant review and could be adjusted if transmission rates rise significantly again.
As of Thursday, June 4, authorities have confirmed 9438 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 325 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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