Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Uzbekistan extends restrictive measures through at least May 10 to stem spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Severe disruptions likely.

This alert affects Uzbekistan

This alert began 19 Apr 2020 11:13 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 10
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Uzbekistan have extended the restrictions currently in place through at least May 10 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Measures that remain in place include:

  • Authorities strictly prohibit residents with chronic illnesses or over the age of 65 from leaving their homes, except in the case of a medical emergency.
  • All other residents may leave their homes only to commute to work, walk dogs, buy essential groceries or medicines, and for medical emergencies.
  • Officials are banning personal car use without a permit nationwide, which the government is issuing for healthcare workers, critical infrastructure, transport, and agriculture workers. Emergency services and security forces personnel, diplomats, public utility services, and freight vehicles can travel without permits.
  • All land border crossings remain closed, though officials will permit foreign nationals attempting to leave the country to do so.
  • All airports have suspended international and domestic operations. Humanitarian, cargo, and some charter flights are permitted.
  • No vehicles, with the exception of freight and goods vehicles, are permitted to travel between different districts of the country.
  • Authorities have suspended all passenger transport, including metro, bus, and rail services, in regional urban centers. Taxis are still operating, though they are undergoing mandatory cleaning daily.
  • People found in public areas without protective facemasks will receive fines.
  • All educational, religious, sporting, and cultural institutions and events remain closed.
  • Authorities have asked all institutions and businesses to send nonessential personnel on leave, with essential staff working remotely as far as possible.
  • Critical facilities, including fuel stations, groceries, and pharmacies, remain open.


Officials could amend health and travel measures at short-notice in the coming weeks in response to government threat assessments.

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. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

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
Uzbekistan Ministry of Public Health: www.minzdrav.uz

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int