France and Ireland to be removed from the list of countries with low risk of contagion. Bulgaria, Belgium and Hungary will be orange

The Ministry of Health has updated the list of countries with a low risk of contagion on the basis of available data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). As of Monday, 11 January, France and Ireland will be removed from the list and added to the red category. Hence, a PCR test will be mandatory upon returning, as will the completion of an arrival form. On the contrary, Bulgaria, Belgium and Hungary will be added to the orange category.

France and Ireland have thus joined most European countries, which are in the red category. Travelers who have spent more than 12 hours in these countries in the past 14 days are obliged to complete an arrival form before returning to the Czech Republic. Within 5 days from entering the Czech Republic, the given individual must undergo a PCR test and the result must be submitted to the respective regional public health authority within 7 days from arrival. 

After returning, they may also submit the result of a PCR test from any other EU country which is no more than 72 hours old. This obligation does not apply to persons under 5 years of age. Until the result of the test is known, those persons concerned should act with caution and restrict their contact with vulnerable population groups, in particular with senior citizens. They should also consider working from home if the nature of their job allows.

Bulgaria, Belgium and Hungary will now be moved to the orange category, which currently includes Greece, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Malta, the Canary Islands and the Portuguese Azores and Madeira. When returning from these countries, foreigners who work or study in the Czech Republic must submit the results of a PCR test, even before entering their workplace or the educational institution where they are studying.

The traffic light system also regulates the category of green countries where none of these obligations apply. Given the current epidemiological situation across Europe, the only European country classified in this category at present is Vatican City.

The parameters and criteria of the “traffic light” system are based on evaluation of the epidemiological criteria and indicators in each country.

Since 20 December 2020, free movement in the Czech Republic has been restricted for persons travelling from Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The main reason is the incidence of a new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Incoming travel from Great Britain, including flights, is permitted for all persons, but they are obliged to undergo an antigen test or PCR test with a negative result beforehand. The first test must be taken in Great Britain no more than 72 hours before commencing travel. A second test (PCR test) must be taken in the Czech Republic. Given the incubation period of the illness, the PCR test must be taken between the fifth and seventh day after returning. Until then, the affected persons are restricted from moving freely about the Czech Republic.A list of countries according to risk of infection can be found here.