Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Central Asian countries continue to enforce restrictions to prevent spread of COVID-19 as of April 15.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

This alert began 15 Apr 2020 12:47 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Central Asia (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Governments in Central Asia continue to implement travel and other restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Specific measures vary by country.

  • Kazakhstan: A state of emergency is in effect through April 30, and all borders are closed. Non-resident foreign nationals are indefinitely barred from entry. Strict quarantine measures have been introduced in several areas, including the capital, Nur-Sultan, and Almaty. Entry to and exit from those areas is severely restricted. All nonessential businesses are closed nationwide until at least April 30; nonessential movement is prohibited; public gatherings of more than three people are banned.
  • Kyrgyzstan: A state of emergency is in effect until April 30. Nationwide internal movement restrictions apply; residents may not travel outside their villages or districts without a permit, except in an emergency. A nightly 2000-0700 curfew is in effect in Bishkek, Osh, Jalal-Abad, and Naryn until April 30. Public transport services in Bishkek, Osh, and Jalalabad have been heavily reduced. Nonessential facilities are closed or restricted. Foreign nationals are indefinitely barred from entering the country. Public gatherings are also banned indefinitely.
  • Tajikistan: Authorities have indefinitely closed border crossings with Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Foreign nationals can exit the country via border crossings, while only residents of Tajikistan can enter. Residents returning from any international destination will be subject to 14-day isolation. International flights have been indefinitely suspended, except for repatriation, humanitarian, and cargo flights. Authorities have closed public facilities and canceled some mass gatherings.
  • Turkmenistan: Nationwide internal movement restrictions have been imposed. Unconfirmed reports state freight traffic has also been affected; freight trucks may not enter or transit the country through April 30. Individuals are not permitted to leave their districts of residence without permits. All national, intercity, and regional highways are closed to all persons except freight vehicles, permit holders, and emergency services personnel. Land borders with Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan remain closed indefinitely.
  • Uzbekistan: All airports have suspended operations, and domestic air travel has been halted until at least April 20; humanitarian, cargo, and some charter flights will be permitted. Nonresident foreign nationals are barred from entering the country. Authorities have imposed a lockdown in Tashkent, Samarkand, and all other regional centers as of April 6. Residents may leave their homes on essential business only. Individuals may not leave their district of residence. Nonessential businesses are closed. All public transport has been suspended in regional urban centers.


Airlines in the region are operating a significantly reduced service, and many governments have suspended or curtailed flight operations. Further service reductions, as well as airport closures, could be announced at short notice. Freight vehicles are typically permitted to transit international borders.

Information on official restrictions is fluid and can be contradictory or ambiguous. Authorities could expand their response in the coming days, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int