Severity: Warning Alert
Exit/Entry: Central Asian countries maintain restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as of July 7.
- Alert Begins: 07 Jul 2020 03:30 PM UTC
- Alert Expires: 15 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19-related restrictions
- Location(s): Central Asia (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Travel and business disruptions
Governments in Central Asia are maintaining travel and other restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of July 7. 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 tightened restrictive measures nationwide from July 5; many nonessential businesses are closed until at least July 19, and limits have been reintroduced on interregional travel. All international borders remain closed, and nonresident foreign nationals are barred from entry.
- Kyrgyzstan: Shopping centers, small restaurants, outdoor markets, and other nonessential businesses have reopened. Public transport has resumed subject to social distancing requirements and health checks. Restrictions on interregional travel were eased June 5. However, restrictions on entering Bishkek remain; interregional buses to the city have been suspended. Land borders are currently closed, and foreign nationals remain indefinitely barred from entering the country. Domestic flights resumed June 8. Public gatherings are indefinitely banned.
- Tajikistan: Authorities permitted shopping malls, hotels, and other nonessential establishments to reopen June 15, providing they meet social distancing requirements; educational facilities remain closed until at least Aug. 17. Most foreign nationals are barred from entering the country via air or land. Mass gatherings are currently prohibited.
- Turkmenistan: Public gatherings and access to outdoor public spaces remain restricted. Nationwide internal movement restrictions have been imposed. 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. International rail traffic with Iran has resumed; air and seaports of entry remain indefinitely closed.
- Uzbekistan: Restrictive measures will remain in place until at least Aug. 1. Some nonessential businesses have been allowed to reopen, including hardware stores. Residents may leave their homes on nonessential business, provided they observe social distancing guidelines and wear protective masks. Some outdoor public spaces in Tashkent have also reopened. Domestic flights and international connections to epidemiologically stable countries have resumed. Most nonresident foreign nationals remain barred from entry. Public transport is operating at reduced capacity.
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.