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30 Mar 2020 | 04:15 AM UTC

Kosovo: Movement restrictions implemented March 24 /update 1

Government implements movement restrictions due to COVID-19 March 24

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Event

On Tuesday, March 24, the government of Kosovo decided to implement movement restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). As such, individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes from 10:00 to 16:00 (local time) except for essential work-related reasons. An overnight curfew will also be in effect from 20:00 to 06:00. The restrictions were immediately opposed by President Hashim Thaci who called on police and other government institutions not to enforce the decision.

As of Monday, March 30, all schools, non-essential businesses such as cafes, bars, restaurants, and shopping centers remain closed, and public gatherings remain suspended. 

Public transport remains restricted, and land border crossing points remain closed to non-Kosovo citizens. Authorities in Kosovo have canceled all flights into the country effective Monday, March 16, according to diplomatic sources while all departing flights are expected to be severely disrupted.

As of Monday, March 30, there are 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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.