Overview: New restrictions go into effect for travel to and from the Czech Republic

A number of countries, including the Czech Republic, are tightening travel measures following the discovery of a new Covid variant.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 04.12.2021 11:43:00 (updated on 11.12.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

As the Czech Republic and countries throughout Europe seek to combat the spread of the coronavirus amid the holiday season, and the world reacts to the spread of the Omicron variant detected in South Africa in late November, new travel restrictions are going into effect around the world.

Updates to the Czech Republic's traffic-light map, which is based on incidence rate data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and is updated weekly, take effect Monday.

Italy and Malta will move from the medium-risk to the red group of Covid high-risk countries on the Czech traveler's map as of Monday, which means stricter rules for returning from these countries for the unvaccinated, the Health Ministry announced in a press release Friday.

In Europe, only the Vatican will remain among the green countries with a low risk of Covid infection. As of Monday, no country will be categorized as an orange, medium-risk, group.

Green countries outside of Europe include Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Indonesia, South Korea, Canada, Qatar, Colombia, Kuwait, Macao, New Zealand, Peru, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, and Uruguay.

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On return from green and orange countries, travelers must fill in a passenger locator form and either present a negative Covid-19 test before entering Czechia or undergo an antigen or PCR test five days after their arrival at the latest.

The Foreign Ministry's travel rules do not yet reflect a Wednesday decision by the Prague Municipal Court that canceled part of a measure that requires people to fill in the passenger locator form when entering the Czech Republic.

The court has lifted this obligation for individual transport and return from low-risk countries saying it violated the right to privacy protection. The court verdict takes effect on Monday.

Countries posing a high Covid infection risk and moving to red on the map include Bulgaria, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Canary and Balearic Islands, the Azores as well as Madeira.

The dark-red category with a very high infection risk will newly include Cyprus, Monaco, Norway, and Switzerland which join Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia, and Slovenia in addition to the above-mentioned non-EU countries.

Arrivals from red or dark-red countries must undergo a PCR test between the fifth and 14th day after their return and must stay in isolation pending the test result. Those using public transport must get tested before entering Czechia. In addition, travelers must submit their passenger locator form, too.

Testing and quarantine duties do not apply to those who have completed Covid vaccination or have a certificate proving that they recovered from Covid-19 in the past 180 days, with the exception of journeys to some Southern African countries. The passenger locator form is mandatory for these arrivals as well.

The Czech Republic accepts the vaccination of the citizens of the third countries who had vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or corresponding vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency use. Incomers must hold a certificate that can be verified and is included on a list of certificates on the Health Ministry's website.

Travel updates for Africa

As of Saturday, third-country citizens who stayed in eight African countries, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, for more than 12 hours in the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter the Czech Republic under a new rule adopted to prevent the spread of the dangerous coronavirus variant detected in South Africa.

Czech and EU citizens and long-term residents can return from these countries under strict anti-epidemic conditions.

Individuals falling into this category must present a negative PCR test and a reservation for another test to be taken within 24 hours upon entering the Czech Republic. They must then undergo another test not before the 10th day and at the latest on the 14th day after arrival. Until then, they must stay in self-isolation. FFP2 respirators must be worn at all times when going out for essential reasons.

An exemption applies to international transport workers if the reason for their entry is proven by the respective documents, and children under six if they do not attend pre-school facilities. The new rule is currently valid until December 12. The health ministry does not recommend traveling to these countries.

Overview of new travel rules from Czech Republic

A number of countries have tightened conditions for international arrivals as the world reacts to the spread of the Omicron variant detected in South Africa in late November.

Some nations have completely banned the entry of non-resident foreigners due to the spread of the Omicron variant among them Morocco, Japan, Hong Kong, and Israel. This is an overview of countries with stricter travel conditions:

  • USA: As of Dec. 6, each international air traveler will be required to have a negative Covid-19 test within one day of departure for the United States, regardless of vaccination status. Antigen or PCR tests will be accepted. The rule applies to all air passengers over two years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Those who recently recovered from Covid-19 can travel with documentation of recovery from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that they were cleared to travel. The U.S. did not impose a mandatory seven-day quarantine on arrivals, which had been mentioned as a possibility. Mask rules also still apply on flights.
  • Canada: All fully vaccinated passengers arriving by air from countries other than the United States must undergo arrival check-in. They must be quarantined until the test results are known.
  • Tunisia: From the beginning of December, only the fully vaccinated can enter the country, with the exception of children under 18 years of age. It is necessary to submit a negative PCR test, which is not older than 48 hours before the start of the trip.
  • France: From Saturday, December 4, 2021, when traveling from the Czech Republic to France (or even through France), arrivals must present a valid certificate of vaccination, illness, or test that is not older than 24 hours. A measure requiring mandatory testing of vaccinated people should be decided next week.
  • Ireland and the UK: Stricter conditions are also going into effect in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Before each trip, due to the current situation, the Foreign Ministry strongly recommends consulting the current travel rules.
  • Germany: New restrictions for the unvaccinated are coming into force in Germany. The 2G rule (vaccinations or cures from Covid-19 in the last 6 months) will apply in most shops (with the exception of shops with essential items) and restaurants. Clubs and discos will be closed in high-incidence districts. Regions with a very high incidence including Bavaria are introducing a partial lockdown.
  • Switzerland: Switzerland has abolished the obligation of quarantine for arrivals from the Czech Republic. Czech citizens arriving in Switzerland no longer need to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. However, all arrivals, including the vaccinated, must continue to complete an electronic arrival form prior to arrival and be tested by PCR. After arriving in Switzerland, it is necessary to pass a second test, which can be an antigen test, between the 4th and 7th day.
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