Airlines to Face Fine for Boarding Foreign Citizens Heading to Kazakhstan Without COVID-19 Tests

NUR-SULTAN – Airlines are now prohibited from boarding foreign citizens heading to Kazakhstan without administering a COVID-19 PCR test result. Violating the regulation will entail a fine of 4,444,800 tenge (US$10,319), said Kazakh chief sanitary doctor for transport Sadvakas Baigabulov at an Oct. 27 press briefing.

Photo credit: Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport press service

Kazakhstan introduced new COVID-19 regulations on Oct. 6 that oblige passengers flying in to present a COVID-19 PCR test result taken no more than three days prior to their entry into Kazakhstan. Kazakh citizens failing to do so were placed in a two day quarantine, while foreigners were deported.

426 international flights landed in Kazakhstan carrying a total of 44,834 passengers since Oct. 6 and passengers with a positive PCR test result were on nineteen of these flights.

Baigabulov noted that the majority of passengers comply with the new rules. He said 84 percent of arriving passengers had COVID-19 PCR test results, while 7,540 passengers arrived without the documents and had to spend two days in a quarantine hospital. 

The majority of Kazakh citizens who fly in without the test result are returning from their vacations in Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, he added. 

There were 413 passengers and 44 cabin crew members, who were in contact with COVID-19 patients, but who tested negative. 

Thirty-one foreign citizens of Belarus, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, were deported, as they had either a COVID-19 express test result or an expired test result.

With the updated regulations coming into effect Oct. 26, foreigners not having a COVID-19 PCR test result will not be allowed to board. 

“It is not difficult for foreigners to take tests from the airport of departure where they are. The airport (in Kazakhstan) has no premises and there is no organisation or institution where PCR tests can be taken so that the foreigner can stay at the airport for as long as possible while waiting for the results,” said Baigabulov.

He also recommended Kazakh citizens take their test before flying back to their country.

“It is no problem now to get tested in foreign countries. International airports, hotels and cities have COVID-19 test centres and the tests results are available within 24 hours,” he said.  

International air travel from Kazakhstan is now open with Belarus, Egypt, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the Netherlands, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Uzbekistan. But Kazakhstan recently decided to reduce the number of international flights to address the surge in coronavirus cases globally and prevent the rise of coronavirus cases in the country.

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