Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Kyrgyzstan lifts state of emergency in Bishkek and several other locations as of May 11; numerous COVID-related restrictions remain.

This alert affects Kyrgyzstan

This alert began 11 May 2020 15:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Authorities in Kyrgyzstan have lifted the state of emergency in several locations as of May 10; an associated curfew has also been lifted. The state of emergency was in effect to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The locations impacted included the cities of Bishkek, Osh, and Jalal-Abad, and the At-Bashy district in the Naryn Region. Authorities will allow some businesses to reopen, including insurance companies, pawnshops, exchange offices, real estate agencies, travel agencies, law firms, clothing stores, and public services; face masks are mandatory and social distancing guidelines must be practiced in all establishments. Electricians and plumbers may also operate.

A nationwide emergency regime and numerous associated restrictive measures remain in effect. Residents may not travel between districts and regions without a special work permit issued by the State Tax Service, confirming they live and work in different districts. Police roadblocks, including health checks, have been established on intercity and regional roads. In Bishkek, Osh, and Jalal-Abad, police checkpoints have been erected within the city limits. Public transport services in Bishkek, Osh, and Jalal-Abad remain heavily reduced; however, taxis may now operate. The measures do not restrict the movement of public utility vehicles or vehicles carrying essential goods, such as food and medicine.

All non-resident foreign nationals remain indefinitely barred from entering the country via all ports of entry, including overland border crossings and airports. Kyrgyz citizens and foreign nationals can leave the country. Freight traffic remains unrestricted. Kyrgyz nationals returning from countries with elevated disease activity will be placed in a mandatory quarantine facility for 14 days. Affected countries include but are not limited to: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. Restaurants and cafes with a capacity of over 50 people remain closed. All education facilities, entertainment venues, shopping malls, theatres, and cinemas are closed for the duration of the state of emergency. Public gatherings are indefinitely banned.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

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.


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