On Tuesday, April 7, the Czech government announced that it will extend the ongoing state of emergency until Thursday, April 30, due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The state of emergency was originally imposed on March 12 and due to expire on Saturday, April 11.
The Czech Ministry of Health announced on Monday, April 6, that current COVID-19 restrictions on retail shops and outdoor sports will begin to ease from midnight (local time) on Thursday, April 9. Authorities will allow shops selling hobby goods and building materials, as well as bicycle shops to reopen. Outdoor sports facilities will also be able to resume operations; however, their facilities such as changing rooms and showers must remain closed. Strict hygiene rules remain in place, including social distancing between customers, wearing masks in public, and disinfection requirements.
Authorities also said that exit restrictions will begin to ease on Tuesday, April 14. Individuals must receive permission from the government and show "reasonable grounds" for leaving the country. Anyone who leaves the Czech Republic will be quarantined for two weeks upon their return. Currently, only individuals who demonstrably cross internal borders regularly (such as cross-border/commune workers) are allowed to exit the country. Controls on the land borders with Germany and Austria and all air borders will be in effect until Friday, April 24.
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. While Czech citizens and residents are allowed to enter the country, 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.
To date, there are more than 4940 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 87 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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