Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Uzbekistan to reimpose nationwide COVID-19 measures from July 10; severe business, transport disruptions likely.

  • Alert Begins: 08 Jul 2020 12:45 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 01 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Uzbekistan plan to tighten restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) July 10-Aug. 1. The additional measures include:

 

  • Vehicular travel between regions will be prohibited, with the exception of official vehicles and those engaged in agricultural activity.

 

  • International freight drivers will need to undergo COVID-19 testing before entry.

 

  • Nonessential businesses, including cafes, restaurants, hotels, leisure and fitness centers, kindergartens, and clothing stores, will close.

 

  • Face-to-face governmental or business meetings will be prohibited.

 

  • Public sector employees who cannot work remotely should be sent on leave.

 

  • Public gatherings, including weddings and cultural events, will be prohibited. No more than three people will be permitted to meet in public; people over 65 years of age are banned from public places.

 


International air services will continue for flights that originate in epidemiologically stable countries, though these could face reductions at short notice, depending on government assessments of the COVID-19 situation in other countries. No new restrictions on domestic flights have been announced.

Authorities had previously relaxed several restrictions; entry to and exit from Uzbekistan is now permitted for:

 

  • Diplomats and their families

 

  • Specialists of foreign companies and organizations involved in investment projects

 

  • Persons arriving in the country for medical treatment

 

  • Persons with close relatives or seriously ill relatives abroad

 

  • Foreigners with Uzbek permanent residence, stateless persons permanently residing in Uzbekistan, as well as Uzbek citizens residing permanently in a foreign state

 

  • Citizens of Uzbekistan studying or working abroad

 


Persons arriving from countries assessed as epidemiologically stable, such as Japan, South Korea, China, and Israel, will not be required to self-isolate. Persons arriving from countries with moderate infection rates, such as countries from the EU, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, while travelers from countries with high infection rates, such as United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, and other CIS countries, will be required to spend 14 days in state-run quarantine centers.

Uzbekistan previously shifted from a nationwide state of emergency to a tiered quarantine alert system to gradually ease restrictions, dependent on disease activity in each region of the country. Accordingly, the country has been divided into red, yellow, and green zones, where red indicates local transmission of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, yellow means active cases of COVID-19 exist, and green indicates no active cases within the past 14 days. The scope of restrictions varies between zones. From Aug. 1, authorities could return to local-level restrictions based on the zonal system.

Other nationwide measures that remain in place include maintaining a social distance of at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) and the mandatory use of protective masks in public. Educational institutions, cinemas, and playgrounds remain closed. Health checks may be carried out at the entrance to grocery stores and markets. All land border crossings remain closed, though officials will permit foreign nationals attempting to leave the country to do so.

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

Background and Analysis
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.

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.


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