Uzbekistan Will Compensate US$3000 For Any Visiting Tourists Who Catch Covid-19
Desperate to rescue its 2020 tourist season from being completely destroyed by the coronavirus, Uzbekistan has promised to pay US$3,000 to any foreign holidaymaker who contracts Covid19 while in the country. To qualify for the government compensation, people must be on an organised tour of Uzbekistan booked with a local tour company and be in the country when the disease is contracted.
In a statement designed to reassure potential big-spending Western tourists, the Uzbek government said that the authorities were doing all they could to sanitise and clean public spaces, hotels and restaurants. “The government is so confident that the new safety and hygiene measures being implemented across the tourism sector will protect tourists from Covid-19, that the President is prepared to put his money where his mouth is,” said Sophie Ibbotson, Uzbekistan’s tourism UK promoter. “If you get Covid-19 on holiday in Uzbekistan, we will compensate you.”
The statement said that the $3,000 figure is roughly the cost of medical care that Uzbek nationals would receive for Covid-19 if they were taken ill, the Government has said.
The amount is roughly, double Uzbekistan’s average annual GDP per person. Like the rest of the region – other than Turkmenistan which has claimed that it has not been infected – Uzbekistan has dealt with the spread of the coronavirus by imposing a heavy lockdown and closing its borders.
At July 1, Uzbekistan had recorded 8,627 cases and 26 deaths, far lower than many European countries. The lockdown was lifted last month and borders are slowly opening although all the main tourist sites remain eerily quiet and the government is locking down areas where it spots any spikes in the infection rate. Tourism is important to the Uzbek government which sees it as a big earner.
We are grateful to the Central Asia and South Caucasus Bulletin for this update.
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