Authorities in Russia and Central Asia impose travel restrictions with China as of Feb. 3 over novel coronavirus concerns. Confirm travel.

Severity: Warning Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Almaty
  • Ashgabat
  • Vladivostok, Primorsky Kray
  • Khabarovsk, Khabarovsk Kray
  • Blagoveshchensk, Amur Oblast'
  • Birobidzhan, Yevrey Autonomous Okrug

This alert began 03 Feb 2020 12:36 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Kazakh, Russian, Tajik, and Turkmen points of entry with China (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Cross-border travel restrictions; possible transport, business disruptions

Summary
Russia and Central Asian countries continue to take steps to contain the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from China. Authorities in Russia have indefinitely suspended all passenger rail services with China, while Kazakh authorities have indefinitely suspended all scheduled flights to and from China as of Feb. 3. Previously, Moscow temporarily suspended some scheduled flights to and from China Feb. 1, though flights connecting Moscow with Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Shanghai are still operating.

Kazakh authorities announced Jan. 29 the immediate suspension of all passenger bus services to and from China. Passenger rail services between China and Kazakhstan were suspended indefinitely from Feb. 1. In Russia, authorities have closed border crossings with China in additional regions, including in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and Khabarovsk Kray; China-Russia border crossings will likely not reopen before Feb. 7. In Turkmenistan, authorities suspended Turkmenistan Airlines (T5) flights between China and Turkmenistan Feb. 1-28.

The Kulma pass border crossing between China and Tajikistan is reportedly closed. Additionally, the Khorgos border checkpoint on the China-Kazakhstan border will remain closed to vehicles, trains, and pedestrians until Feb. 15. In Russia, border checkpoints in the Amur Oblast and Primorsky Kray will remain closed until at least Feb. 7.

Several other border crossings on the China-Kazakhstan border remain open as of Feb. 3. Increased congestion is possible at open border crossings due to the stated closure of several major border checkpoints.

Authorities could announce further border restrictions in the coming weeks in response to the outbreak in China. The border closures will likely cause localized transport and delivery disruptions and delays, as freight operators could divert shipping routes through alternative border checkpoints. Increased traffic congestion is possible near the affected border checkpoints after they resume operations.

Authorities in Kyrgyzstan are yet to introduce potentially disruptive 2019-nCoV-related travel restrictions. However, such measures are possible as the response to the threat evolves.

Advice
Allow additional time for travel and consider alternative routes if planning to drive or route freight through the affected border checkpoints. Plan for possible freight delivery delays for the duration of the closures. Confirm flight status if planning to travel to or from China, as schedule changes or flight cancellations are possible.