The health and safety of tourists in Uzbekistan has always been an important consideration, but never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Uzbekistan has already taken significant steps to control the virus domestically and make the country safe for tourists, and continues to be guided by the World Health Organization and scientists in creating its tourism policy. On this page you will find information about Uzbekistan’s Safe Tourism Guaranteed policy, and also other useful information about keeping healthy and travelling safely in Uzbekistan.
SAFETY IN UZBEKISTAN Uzbekistan is one of the safest places in the world for foreign tourists. In fact, Gallup’s 2018 poll rated Uzbekistan the 5th safest destination in the world, equal to Hong Kong. Only Finland, Iceland, and Norway were considered safer. Petty crime is rare, and women and solo travellers report feeling safe travelling in Uzbekistan, including at night and when on public transport. You should of course take the standard travel precautions and look out for your personal belongings, but on the whole you shouldn’t worry about your safety in Uzbekistan.
Uniformed police are a regular sight in Uzbekistan, including at airports and railway stations, traffic intersections, etc. They are generally helpful, though may not speak English. If you are in a tourist site, look out for the tourist police: they do speak English fluently, and are there to answer your questions and provide you with any assistance that you need.
ROAD SAFETY IN UZBEKISTAN If you are travelling by road in Uzbekistan, or are a pedestrian, you do need to be wary of other road users. The standard of driving and of vehicle maintenance in Uzbekistan is not always as good as it should be, and so a traffic accident is probably the biggest threat you will face as a tourist. Do not get into a taxi if you suspect the driver has been drinking alcohol, tell your driver not to use his mobile phone whilst driving, and exercise due caution when crossing the road.
HEALTH IN UZBEKISTAN Before you visit Uzbekistan, check with your doctor if you need any inoculations. You can also consult the NHS Fit for Travel website. If you take any prescription medication, make sure it is permitted to bring them to Uzbekistan as some drugs (including some pain killers which are common elsewhere) are prohibited. The list of prohibited medications and the process for importing limited quantities of other medication are on the State Customs Committee website.
Healthcare in Uzbekistan is free for citizens, and many public hospitals will treat tourists, too. The standard of these hospitals varies, and staff may not speak English. If you are ill or have an accident during your trip to Uzbekistan, you may prefer to go to one of the private international hospitals. Tashkent International Clinic and the American Hospital are both in Tashkent, and the South Korean-owned Himchan Hospital is in Bukhara. Most medications are available over the counter from the ubiquitous pharmacies (apteka) and a doctor’s prescription is not required.
It is recommended that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance before your visit to Uzbekistan. Policies which include MedEvac are best.
COVID-19 IN UZBEKISTAN Uzbekistan took a proactive approach to tackling COVID-19 and locked down early, including closing international borders and cancelling flights. Consequently, COVID-19 case numbers and deaths in Uzbekistan have been much lower than in many other countries. The country has launched a Safe Travel Guaranteed program, which includes increased sanitary and hygiene measures for tourism businesses, and a $3,000 in compensation for any tourist who becomes infected with COVID-19 whilst in Uzbekistan. All foreign arrivals must have a negative test result within 72 hours of flying to Uzbekistan, or self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. The latest COVID-19 guidelines for tourists in Uzbekistan are available on the official Uzbekistan Travel website here.