On Thursday, April 2, the Czech Ministry of the Interior announced that controls on the land borders with Germany and Austria and all air borders will be extended until Friday, April 24, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The border controls, originally introduced on March 13, were set to expire on Saturday, April 4.
Under these restrictions, internal borders with Germany and Austria will only be open without time limits at designated crossing points. Other crossing points will be open from 05:00 to 23:00 (local time) for road freight transport and individuals who demonstrably cross internal borders regularly (such as cross-border/commune workers). Exceptions will also be made in the case of unforeseen emergencies.
Among the restrictions in place, the Czech Republic is one of the few countries in Europe that requires everyone to wear face masks in public. From Monday, March 16, individuals in the Czech Republic are required to travel only for work, shopping, and a few other essential activities. Public gatherings remain banned while closures are imposed on nonessential businesses.
While public transport remains operational, international travel remains significantly restricted in the country from March 16. The Ministry of Interior announced that all foreign nationals will be denied entry to the Czech Republic. While Czech citizens and residents are allowed to entry the country during this period, those traveling from countries the government considers "high risk" will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. The list is accessible here and can be updated at any time. Those traveling from any other country will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine if they show symptoms.
As of April 2, there have been 3600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic, including 40 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
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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