COVID-19: Spike In Central Asia Prompts Renewed Restrictions

Central Asia

Faced with a spike in coronavirus cases in Central Asia’s most populous country, Uzbek officials say they have reimposed measures in some areas, reversing course after slowly rescinding a mid-March lockdown.

A government commission on efforts to slow the outbreak said on June 30 that as of July 1, public transportation will be limited and no more than three people will be allowed to gather between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. on weekends in the regions with registered coronavirus cases.

Additionally, a curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. will be imposed on weekends. Only people who need urgent medical assistance will be allowed to leave their homes during the curfew, the commission said.

Uzbek health authorities said on June 30 that the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country was 8,298, of whom 5,495 people recovered, while 24 patients have died.

In neighboring Kazakhstan, newly appointed Health Minister Aleksei Tsoi recommended that the authorities introduce a four-week, nationwide lockdown to hold the number of newly registered coronavirus cases that need hospitalization to around 2,500 by the end of August.

Tsoi added that without a lockdown, the number of newly registered coronavirus cases that need hospitalization may reach 27,000 by late August.

Tsoi’s recommendations came a day after President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev ordered the government to outline a new package of coronavirus restrictions amid the surge of the infections.

Kazakh health authorities said on June 30 that the number of coronavirus cases in the country reached 21,819, of which 13,008 people recovered, and 188 died.

In Kyrgyzstan, the government said on June 30 that Deputy Prime Minister Erkin Asrandiev had been diagnosed with the coronavirus and was currently working while in isolation.

The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) said that ex-President Almazbek Atambaev, who was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison a week earlier for releasing a crime boss in 2013, was hospitalized with acute pneumonia.

According to the UKMK, Atambaev’s coronavirus test came back negative.

The Health Ministry said on June 30 that it had recorded 5,296 coronavirus patients in the country, of which 2,370 people recovered, and 57 died.

In Tajikistan, officials said the number of registered coronavirus patients in the country was 5,900, of whom 4,506 recovered, and 52 died as of June 29.

The fifth na in the region, Turkmenistan, remains the only country in Central Asia that has not officially admitted a single coronavirus case, though experts are skeptical of the claim given the lack of transparency and the absence of an independent media in the tightly-controlled country.




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