Prime Minister Andrej Babis declared a 30-day state of emergency on Thursday, March 12, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Per the declaration, travelers from 15 countries will be prohibited from entering the Czech Republic. The affected countries include Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, China, South Korea, and Iran. Additionally, Czech nationals will be barred from traveling to and from the abovementioned countries as of Saturday, March 14.
Under the state of emergency, international passenger transport has been suspended, and public gatherings of more than 30 people banned. Closures will be imposed on certain nonessential businesses such as sports centers, spa services, and galleries, while restaurants will be required to close daily at 20:00 (local time).
To date, there have been over 90 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. 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 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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.