Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Central Asian countries continue to enforce restrictions to prevent spread of COVID-19 as of May 20.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

This alert began 20 May 2020 13:59 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Central Asia (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions, increased security

Governments in Central Asia continue to implement travel and other restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of May 20. In some cases, authorities have begun to ease restrictions, presumably in response to improved disease activity in the country. Specific measures vary by country.

  • Kazakhstan: Authorities have further eased restrictions as of May 18. Hotels, places of worship, and some nonessential businesses may reopen. Outdoor public spaces were permitted to reopen May 11; individual exercise is permitted. Domestic flights have resumed; however, all borders remain closed, and nonresident foreign nationals are barred from entry. Strict quarantine measures remain in force nationwide, including in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. Intercity and regional travel remain severely restricted.
  • Kyrgyzstan: Authorities will further ease restrictions in two stages May 21 and May 25. Shopping centers, small restaurants, outdoor markets, and some nonessential businesses will reopen May 21. Leisure and cultural venues will reopen May 25. Public transport will gradually resume from May 25; however, an emergency regime remains in effect. Nationwide internal movement restrictions continue to apply; residents may not travel outside their village or district without a permit, except in an emergency. Foreign nationals remain indefinitely barred from entering the country. Manas International Airport (FRU) remains open for repatriation and cargo flights only. Public gatherings are indefinitely banned.
  • Tajikistan: Authorities in Dushanbe have ordered the indefinite closure of markets, beauty salons, telecommunications stores, car washes, and hotels. Restaurants and other nonessential businesses have closed of their own volition. National outdoor sports leagues have been indefinitely suspended as of April 30. In the Sughd Region, all inter-district travel is indefinitely banned as of May 11. Border crossings remain indefinitely closed for most foreign nationals; international passenger flights are suspended. All arrivals are subject to 14-day isolation. Freight traffic is exempt from the restrictions. Authorities have closed public facilities, including schools, canceled some mass gatherings, and banned the export of some agricultural products.
  • Turkmenistan: Public gatherings and access to outdoor public spaces have been restricted as of May 15. Nationwide internal movement restrictions have been imposed. Unconfirmed reports state freight traffic has also been affected. 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: Authorities have introduced a color-coded quarantine alert system. Red zones carry the most restrictions. Tashkent is in the yellow zone, which is moderate. Some nonessential businesses have been allowed to reopen nationwide, including law firms, insurance companies, and hardware stores. Residents may leave their homes on nonessential business, provided they observe social distancing guidelines and wear face masks. Some outdoor public spaces in Tashkent have also reopened. Most international and domestic flights remain suspended. Nonresident foreign nationals are barred from entering the country. Intercity travel is allowed with a permit. Public transport remains suspended. All land borders are closed.

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 with little warning, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

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.

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