As part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), authorities in Turkmenistan have extended their suspensions of international flights until at least Dec. 31. Domestic rail and bus services also remain suspended until at least Dec. 31. All land borders with Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan remain closed until further notice. Only Turkmen nationals, permanent residents, diplomats, and workers in critical industries and key infrastructure are permitted to enter the country. All arrivals must undergo a 14-day quarantine in a state-run facility. While freight traffic is generally allowed to transit the border, Turkmen authorities have previously restricted cross-border freight traffic without warning or explanation. All persons departing the country must be in possession of a negative COVID-19 test certificate, signed within the previous 24 hours.
Domestic flights are operating on a significantly reduced schedule. Security forces have erected checkpoints on roads entering Ashgabat. Checkpoints have also been reported on highways in Balkan, Mary, Lebap, and Dashoguz provinces, where health screenings have been carried out. Special permits are required to travel within or between provinces.
Shopping malls, entertainment venues, leisure facilities, cultural venues, houses of worship, and sports facilities remain closed indefinitely. Restaurants and cafes may open for deliveries only. Educational institutions have been permitted to reopen provided strict anti-COVID-19 measures are maintained. Additionally, while there is no official ban on public gatherings, authorities in Ashgabat have deactivated ATMs in shopping centers and semi-enclosed market areas, including the Terkinsky bazaar, to prevent crowds from congregating. All persons are required to observe social distancing of at least 1 meter (3 feet) and wear protective face coverings in public.
Authorities could impose further restrictions based on disease activity in the 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.