The Czech coronavirus travel map, also known as Coronavirus Traffic Light System, will see some major changes as of Friday, February 5. The most noticeable of these changes is a completely new category of countries being added. This was announced on Monday, February 1, only a few days after conditions for travelling into the country were tightened due to the more contagious British mutation of COVID-19.
New Category of Countries
On February 1, the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that the coronavirus travel map will completely change from Friday, February 5. The biggest change is adding a new category of countries. Originally there were only three, however, according to the minister, new measures are required due to the recent development of the situation and spread of the highly contagious British mutation. This means that there are currently four categories of countries:
- Low-risk countries (marked green),
- Medium-risk countries – (marked orange),
- High-risk countries – (marked bright red),
- Very-high risk countries – (marked dark red).
There will be no conditions for travelling to the Czech Republic from the low-risk countries; on the other hand, the only low-risk country right now is the Vatican.
As for the medium-risk countries, it will be necessary to undergo PCR or antigenic testing and fill in a special form prior to travelling to the Czech Republic (for example, before boarding a plane). The test itself must not be older than 48 hours. The medium-risk countries include Finland, Greece, Norway and Iceland.
Stricter Countermeasures for High-Risk Countries
Similar, though slightly stricter, rules apply also to the high-risk countries. Prior to travelling to Czechia from these countries, it will be necessary to undergo PCR or antigenic testing and fill in the special form. The test must not be older than 48 hours as well. In addition to that, however, travellers must undergo a PCR test within five days from their arrival and report the result immediately to the corresponding regional hygiene station. For ten days from their arrival they also have to wear a respirator or face mask. Most countries of the EU fall into this category.
The strictest measures, of course, apply to the very high-risk countries. Prior to travelling to the Czech Republic from these countries, it will be necessary to undergo PCR testing (not the antigenic testing, in this case!) and fill in the special form prior to travelling to the Czech Republic. People coming from these countries will have to stay in quarantine for at least five days from their arrival in the country. The quarantine can be ended only by undergoing another PCR test after the 5th day of the quarantine. It then has to be submitted to the corresponding regional hygiene station. At the same time, they will be obligated to wear a respirator of at least FFP2 level for 10 days from their arrival. The very high-risk category includes, for example, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal and all non-EU countries.
Necessary travels without a test and the subsequent restrictions will now be allowed only if they do not exceed 12 hours. Originally, it was allowed to leave the country for 24 hours without having to get tested upon returning back to Czechia.
On Monday, February 1, the government also decided to suspend VAT on FFP2 respirators for two months, which should lead to a drop in their price. In the past, the government considered introducing mandatory wearing of respirators on public transport or at stores. This hasn’t yet been approved, though it could possibly happen in the near future, considering this new decision.
All of these changes were announced only a few days after the ban on non-essential travels and it is, therefore, necessary to remember that it is still possible to come to the Czech Republic only if the situation allows or outright requires it. The minister himself asks people to carefully reevaluate whether it is really necessary to travel and avoid travelling altogether, if possible.
If you struggle with the current situation and various restrictions, make sure to watch the next live stream with our immigration expert Oldřich Lang on February 18 at 5:00 PM.