There has been a lot of news in the last few hours regarding Turkmenistan closing their borders due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This is not officially the case, however, Turkmen authorities have begun unilaterally cancelling already issued LOI’s between now and the end of March.
Officially the borders aren’t closed; officially quarantine procedures are being put in place and all travellers arriving from China or other affected countries will be checked by doctors for symptoms of the virus, and then placed in quarantine at their own expense if any signs are found. Some foreigners are still being allowed into the country, after being subjected to medical tests and possibly quarantine, however, it seems that no tourists are now being let in.
Any already issued LOI’s for April have not been cancelled, and pending applications are still being processed for April and beyond. This, of course, may change in the coming days or weeks, but at this point, we just have to wait and see how the situation transpires.
What does this mean for our tours?
For now, nothing. Our first group tour is in April and for the moment we are continuing plans as usual. We will, of course, be keeping in touch with what’s happening at the borders, and within a couple of weeks will have a much better idea of how the situation is transpiring. If you’re booked on an upcoming tour we’ll keep you posted.
-Eilidh Robertson, Turkmenistan Tours Manager.