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Kosovo adopts new restrictions as coronavirus cases surge

The Government of Kosovo on Sunday adopted new measures in a bid to curb further spread of the coronavirus. Health authorities reported spike in COVID-19 cases and fatalities last week.

The Government of Kosovo during a virtual meeting Sunday has approved a decision on introducing new special measures to protect from COVID-19. Under the new rules, bars and restaurants must close at 21:00 to 05:00, and can stay open later only for takeaway service. A maximum of five people can gather in public areas and other public gatherings such as weddings and family parties, are prohibited.

The Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said the Government will review these measures after two weeks depending on the epidemiologic situation.

Authorities have decided to reintroduce restrictions after Kosovo saw spike in COVID-19 measures last week. Over the weekend the National Institute of Public Health has reported ten new fatalities and 851 additional COVID-19 cases. The official data show that Kosovo registered 514 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the largest single-day jump in infections since the COVID-19 outbreak in early march 2020.

The restriction measures as introduced by the Government:

  1. All foreign citizens entering the Republic of Kosovo (RKS), coming from high risk countries, according to the official ECDC list, must prove, through the RT-PCR test in Sars COV-2, that they are not infected with COVID-19, based on the principle of reciprocity, with the following exceptions:

1.1 Upon entry through “Adem Jashari” International Airport they do not need to have a negative certificate of the RT-PCR test, given that foreign nationals will only pass through the territory of RKS, and provided that at the entrance they will sign a statement that within 3 hours they will leave the territory of RKS;

1.2 Upon entry at the land border crossing points, in order to exit through the air points, from the “Adem Jashari” International Airport and the land points, they do not need to have a negative certificate of the RT-PCR test, but foreign citizens are obliged to present the plane ticket and sign a statement that within 3 hours they will leave the territory of RKS;

1.3 Professional transporters (drivers) do not need to have a negative PCR test, provided that the protocol for international transport is followed;

1.4 For organized transport by bus or regular international transit line, no negative RT-PCR test is required, provided that a statement is signed that they will leave the territory of RKS within 5 hours;

1.5 Foreign nationals who have a temporary or permanent residence permit in the RKS, upon entering the RKS must submit a certificate for negative RT-PCR test, made no later than 72 hours before entering RKS;

1.5.1 In case of failure to submit the proof for negative test, foreign nationals are obliged to self-isolate for 7 days;

1.6 Foreign diplomats who are accredited in RKS as well as their families, are not required to have a certificate for negative RT-PCR test;

1.7 Foreign nationals who have set appointments for treatment in health institutions in the RKS, can enter if they submit a certificate for a negative TR-PCR test, made no later than 72 hours before entering the RKS and the certificate for the appointment set issued by the hospital;

1.8 Holders of personal documents issued by RKS but with residence addresses in another state, upon entry into RKS, must submit a certificate for negative RT-PCR test, made no later than 72 hours before entering RKS.

  1. All public and private institutions are obliged to manage the presence of staff at work in accordance with the Manual for protection against the spread of COVID -19, and for this purpose, all institutions will be inspected by the competent authorities.
  2. All entities that provide gastronomy services such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars and the like in the Republic of Kosovo are prohibited from operating from 21:00 to 05:00, except for take away services.

3.1 Within the allowed hours they can work respecting the distance of 2 meters space between the tables as well as keep the hand sanitizers on each table which can be used by the clients. Temperature measurement is mandatory for everyone when entering public and private facilities.

  1. Gathering of citizens in a number of more than 5 people in public squares, parks and other public places is prohibited, except for the cases allowed by this decision;
  2. All public gatherings are prohibited, including: seminars, workshops, weddings and family parties, as well as any other form of organization where there is a gathering of people except for the cases allowed by this decision;
  3. The activity of public markets of vehicles and animals is prohibited in the entire territory of the Republic of Kosovo.
  4. Slaughter of animals is allowed in the premises authorized for the slaughter of animals.
  5. Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo are allowed to participate in religious ceremonies and activities, in religious facilities and outside them in accordance with the Manual for protection against the spread of COVID-19. Temperature measurement is mandatory for everyone when entering buildings.
  6. All public and private institutions are obliged to keep disinfectants for hands and face masks in accessible places at the entrance of the facility, which can be used by employees of institutions and visitors.
  7. All public and private institutions are obliged to establish rules with visible signs at each entrance of the facility (including the prohibition of entry without masks, the obligation to respect the distance, etc.) in accordance with the Manual for protection against the spread of COVID-19.
  8. Cultural activities of subordinate institutions of MCYS and municipalities; Theatres, Libraries, Philharmonic, Galleries, Ensembles, Ballet, Cinemas, Youth Centres, Museums, Cultural Centres, are partially allowed, in groups, using only 30% of the space/areas of the respective facilities. Percentage of the use of space will be valid for all activities, both in performances and in exercises, always based on the Manual for protection against the spread of COVID-19. Temperature measurement is mandatory for everyone when entering buildings.
  9. Indoor and outdoor sports activities are allowed; trainings and competitions can be organized in individual sports; indoors, up to 20 people can participate in the trainings, while up to 50 people can participate in the organization of competitions, always based on local and international sports protocols and guidelines which are based on the Manual for protection against the spread of COVID-19. Temperature measurement is mandatory during entrances to indoor sports facilities as well as outdoor sports facilities.
  10. Gyms and indoor swimming pools are allowed for individual recreational activities using only 40% of the space, in accordance with the Manual for protection against the spread of COVID-19. Temperature measurement is mandatory for everyone when entering facilities.
  11. All entities that provide public transport (buses, vans, taxis), shall work with halving their capacity in terms of the number of passengers they carry, to allow the space needed for each passenger.
  12. All municipalities are required to fully reactivate their local headquarters.
  13. In order to exercise the activity of public and private kindergartens in the entire territory of the Republic of Kosovo, the assessment and supervision by the municipal authorities is required, in accordance with the Manual for protection from the spread of COVID-19. Temperature measurement is mandatory for everyone when entering buildings.
  14. People with chronic illnesses and pregnant women are exempted from appearing at work and employers are instructed to create the conditions for their online engagement from home.
  15. Persons over the age of 65 are allowed to leave the house during the following hours: 6:00-10:00 and 16:00-19:00. They have the right to go outside out of this schedule only for health needs.
  16. Teaching/learning in all institutions of higher education, public and private, is organized online. Meanwhile, exams, practical and laboratory work are organized normally, but respecting all the recommendations of NIPHK and MoH.
  17. The activity of all shopping malls throughout the territory of the Republic of Kosovo is prohibited from 21:00 to 05:00.
  18. All officials of public institutions, private enterprises and any other entity are obliged to undertake strict measures to prevent the spread of infection within their institutions, by carrying out continuous disinfection and taking all necessary measures.
  19. The technical medical teams of MFMCs (Main Family Medicine Centres) with the support of the Kosovo Police are obliged to control the passengers entering the border points: Merdare, Vermica, Kulla, Hani i Elezit, Jarinje, Dheu i Bardhë and “Adem Jashari” International Airport.
  20. Municipal headquarters for epidemic prevention, health directorates and MFMCs, will monitor the progress of the health of infected persons for up to two weeks and will report on a daily basis to RCPH-NIPHK on activities undertaken and the situation in the field.
  21. Municipalities are instructed to increase efforts to provide home health services for the chronically ill persons.
  22. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, in accordance with the situation created and according to the recommendations of NIPHK and MoH, is instructed to release the beneficiaries of schemes and benefits managed by MLSW from regular submission for evidence purposes.
  23. Dormitories and student’s cafeteria will work respecting the recommendations of NIPHK.
  24. For all violators of these measures, including the management of public and private institutions that have the duty to implement measures for protection from COVID-19, the competent bodies are obliged to impose punitive measures against them in accordance with Law no. 07/L-006 on Preventing and Combating Covid-19 Pandemic in the territory of the Republic of Kosovo.
  25. This decision will be evaluated within two weeks, depending on the epidemiological situation, and is valid until another decision.
  26. Decision No. 01/32 of the Government, dated 25.09.2020, shall be abrogated.

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