Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Republic placed Serbia and Montenegro on its “red list” of countries with high risks of COVID-19 transmission.
The decision, announced by the Czech Ministry of Health on Friday, comes after a worsening of the epidemiological situation in the two Western Balkan countries and an increase in new confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The two countries were, until Friday, classified as low-risk and safe countries to travel to. While Czechs rarely travel to Serbia on holiday, Montenegro has lately become an increasingly popular destination for Czech tourists.
Although Czechs are still allowed to travel to Serbia and Montenegro, they will have to produce, starting today, a negative COVID-19 test or self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return to the Czech Republic.
The vice-president of the Czech Association of Travel Agencies Jan Papež criticized the “hasty” decision to flag Montenegro as a high-risk country, a move that would affect, according to him, several hundreds of Czech holidaymakers.
Citizens from Serbia and Montenegro, on the other hand, can only enter the Czech territory for specific reasons (business, study, family, etc.) and with a negative COVID-19 test.
With data suggesting some of the new cases in the Czech Republic came from Czechs who contracted the virus on holiday abroad, the Czech government is constantly updating its classification of destinations according to their epidemiological situation. Among EU member states, Sweden remains the only one categorized as “high-risk”.
Croatia, by far the most popular summer destination for Czech tourists, has also seen an important increase in new cases of coronavirus in recent days, but remains for now among “low-risk” countries, according to the Ministry of Health.
Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek also told local media that Czech authorities were closely monitoring the situation in Bulgaria, another population holiday destination, which has also seen its number of daily Covid-19 cases surge in recent days.