Victory Square near Kyrgyz Range, Bishkek, Frunze, Kyrgyzstan

Adopting containment and mitigation policies, implementing restrictions

COVID-19’s Long-Term Implications for Central Eurasia

The rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the states of Central Eurasia in 2020 provoked political leaders in the Central Asian states to announce national emergencies and quickly adopt containment and mitigation policies. Political leaders in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan swiftly took rapid and effective steps to implement restrictions, impose curfews, and initiate sheltering-in-place measures. Political leaders in other Central Asian countries initially responded more reluctantly but now have also joined their neighbors in steps to halt the spread of the disease. Initial containment steps were effective in restraining what could have otherwise been “wildfire” spread of infection. But in a few short months COVID-19 has drawn all the countries in the Central Eurasian region into a downward spiral, quarantining large numbers of people to their homes, disrupting the economy, and bringing to a near halt the movement of people, goods and services across borders. Significant sectors of the economy throughout the Central Asian region, brought to a standstill, are now preparing for some form of policy relaxation. The current situation in Central Asian states in many respects is like that of many other countries around the world—facing an unclear future. In some other respects, however, the challenges to the Central Asian states are unique and call for measures which address the long-term consequences of COVID-19 in a way tailored to the region’s particular situation. . .

Excerpt from Diplomatic Courier, May 6, 2020.

Ms. Anna Gussarova, a graduate of SCWMD/T 13-05, and ESS-E 18-09, is the Director of the Kazakhstan Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.