The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov announced on Friday, March 13, that authorities will bar entry to foreign nationals at all border crossing points for two weeks from Sunday, March 15, to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). He said that the government will reassess the situation at the end of the two weeks depending on how the situation develops. Danilov specified that while the measure does not prevent Ukrainian nationals from returning to Ukraine, those that return from significantly affected countries will be required to undergo "observation procedures." The Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov also announced on Friday that authorities will close some border crossing points to limit the spread of the virus, however, the exact list of affected border crossing points was not immediately specified. Ukraine's Press Service of the Cabinet confirmed on Thursday, March 12, that about 70 percent of all checkpoints are expected to close.
Authorities closed all schools and universities from March 12 through Friday, April 3. Mass gatherings of more than 200 people remain banned through April 3. Cinemas and entertainment areas in shopping malls have been temporarily closed; public transport will continue to operate.
As of March 13, officials have confirmed three cases of COVID-19 in the country. 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 labored 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.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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.