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OVERVIEW: New travel rules valid from 5 February 2021
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OVERVIEW: New travel rules valid from 5 February 2021

 

Due to the unfavourable development of the pandemic and concerns about the spread of new coronavirus mutations, new rules for travel to the Czech Republic and for the return of Czech nationals will come into force on Friday, 5 February 2021.

What categories have foreign countries newly been divided into based on the risk of infection?

The new protective measure of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic distinguishes between five categories of countries:

  • low-risk countries (green)
  • medium-risk countries (orange)
  • high-risk countries (red)
  • very-high-risk countries (dark red)
  • extreme-risk countries (black)

The so-called traffic light system for travel has fixed criteria and is therefore automatic and predictable. The Czech Republic is proceeding in accordance with EU recommendations. At the same time, the division of countries into individual categories will continue to be regularly updated.

What are the conditions for returning to the Czech Republic from individual categories of countries?

  • LOW RISK (green): Travellers can come to the Czech Republic from these countries without any restrictions.
  • MEDIUM RISK (orange): Travellers from these countries (both foreigners and Czech citizens) must fill in an arrival form before travelling to the Czech Republic and undergo an antibody or PCR test not older than 24 hours (in the case of an antibody test) or 72 hours (in the case of a PCR test) at the beginning of the journey and have a written confirmation of the result.
  • HIGH RISK (red): Travellers from these countries (both foreigners and Czech citizens) must fill in an arrival form before travelling to the Czech Republic and undergo an antibody or PCR test not older than 24 hours (in the case of an antibody test) or 72 hours (in the case of a PCR test) at the beginning of the journey and have a written confirmation of the result. Subsequently, they must submit a second PCR test (an antibody test is not sufficient) performed in the Czech Republic, no later than 5 days after arrival. The result must be immediately submitted to the appropriate hygiene station electronically. Self-isolation is required until a second negative test is submitted. It is also mandatory to wear a facemask everywhere outside the home 10 days after arrival.
  • VERY HIGH RISK (dark red): Travellers from these countries (both foreigners and Czech citizens) must fill in an arrival form before travelling to the Czech Republic and undergo PCR test (an antibody test is not sufficient) not older than 72 hours at the beginning of the journey and have a written confirmation of the result. Subsequently, they must submit a second PCR test performed in the Czech Republic, the soonest on the 5th day after arrival. The result must be immediately submitted to the appropriate hygiene station electronically. Self-isolation is required until a second negative test is submitted (in practice five-day quarantine is ordered). It is also mandatory to wear an FFP2 respirator (or a respirator of the same or higher efficiency) everywhere outside the home 10 days after arrival. 
  • EXTREME RISK (black): All citizens of the Czech Republic and foreigners residing in the Czech Republic are prohibited from entering countries with an extreme risk of contracting COVID-19 caused by new mutations of the virus. This does not apply to citizens of these countries and to journeys which, due to their nature, cannot be postponed and which have been notified in advance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Those who violate the prohibition risk being fined under the Public Health Protection Act.

Note: The testing period is calculated from the time the test was taken to the start of the journey. For example, confirmation of a negative PCR test must not be older than 72 hours before departure from the destination.

Which countries are in which categories from 5 February 2021?

  • LOW RISK (green): Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Vatican, Iceland
  • MEDIUM RISK (orange): Finland, Greece, Norway, Denmark; Azores (Portugal)
  • HIGH RISK (red): Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Romania, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, Portugal, Spain; Madeira (Portugal).
  • VERY HIGH RISK (dark red): Dark red countries include all countries not listed in the previous categories.
  • EXTREME RISK (black): Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini (Swaziland), South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania (including Zanzibar and Pemba), Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In which category are countries that are not members of the EU or the Schengen area?

Countries that are not members of the EU or the Schengen area and are not explicitly listed in another category (Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand) are classified as "dark red".

Portugal and Spain are in the dark red group. What about the islands that belong to these countries?

Island areas – the Azores (Portugal), Madeira (Portugal) and the Canary Islands (Spain) – are assesed separately based on epidemiological data from the region. You can find current classification above.

Are there any exceptions to the new travel rules?

Exceptions continue to apply to commuters, international transport, and transit through the Czech Republic. Necessary trips abroad without subsequent testing obligations will now be allowed only if they do not exceed 12 hours. You can find all the exceptions in the protective measure of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.

Do these travel rules also apply to people travelling with tour operators?

Yes, the new travel rules also apply to people travelling with tour operators from 5 February 2021. In this respect, the rules are the same for both individual travellers and those travelling with tour operators.

What conditions apply to trips to foreign countries?

Each country has its own travel rules, just like the Czech Republic. The Czech traffic light system has no bearing on them – it only determines the conditions for travel to the Czech Republic. Information on the conditions for travelling to individual countries can be found in the Signpost (for European countries also in the Traveller's Map).

Who can I contact if I haven't found the answer to my questions here?

If you have specific questions, you can contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs information centre for travel abroad at +420 224 183 200. The staff are ready to answer questions from the public on weekdays from 8:00 – 16:00. If you or a loved one is in an emergency abroad, contact the emergency line of the relevant embassy, which is open 24 hours a day.

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