The Uzbekistani government will pay you $3,000 USD if you travel to the country and contract COVID-19. That’s how much it costs to treat the coronavirus there—and that’s how much faith the government has invested in their newly enhanced sanitation regime.
"We want to reassure tourists they can come to Uzbekistan," Sophie Ibbotson, Uzbekistan's tourism ambassador to the UK, said in a statement. "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 money where his mouth is.
“If you get COVID-19 on holiday in Uzbekistan, we will compensate you."
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed the decree and launched the "Safe Travel Guaranteed" campaign last week, in a bid to reinvigorate the nation’s growing tourism sector. Insider reports that Uzbekistan was named the world’s fourth fastest-growing tourism market in 2019.
The $3,000 compensation payout is subject to certain conditions, though. Any tourists who happen to come down with COVID will need to have been travelling with a local tour guide, who will be certified in safety and hygiene guidelines. Tourist sites and accommodation will also be required to gain certification from the government to ensure that they’re meeting the new standards of sanitary and epidemiological safety.
International flights to Uzbekistan resume this month, with the country accepting arrivals from low-risk countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and Israel. Those coming from the EU and the UK will be forced to undergo 14 days of self-isolation upon arrival, but the government has indicated that this will be waived once those countries get their own infection rates under control.
Uzbekistan’s response to the pandemic was swift and decisive, as the government grounded flights, closed the borders to tourists and imposed strict lockdown measures in mid-March, when there were only a handful of confirmed cases in the country. At the time of writing, Uzbekistan has recorded 84 coronavirus-related deaths from a population of almost 33 million.