Turkmenistan officials refute accusations of hiding coronavirus cases and inform about three quarantine zones

Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a briefing, in the course of which the officials informed about the measures undertaken by the authorities to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

At the same time, when covering the briefing, the official media outlets avoided any reference to coronavirus and used only the term “infectious diseases”, whereas the information agency Reuters gave a more detailed coverage of the meeting.

According to the agency, Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov refuted suspicions that the Turkmen authorities might be hiding cases of COVID-19.

“If there was a single confirmed coronavirus case we would have immediately informed the World Healthcare Organization in line with our obligations. We are not hiding anything,” – Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov told a briefing.

The pro-governmental news outlet Arzuw quoted the Foreign Minister, who had invited attendees to pay a visit to the quarantine zone.

“Chronicles of Turkmenistan” reported on 14 April, 2020 that at least seven people who tested positive for coronavirus were being kept in the quarantine zone in Lebap velayat.

The US Embassy in Ashgabat also expressed doubts that Turkmenistan has officially acknowledged any cases of COVID-19 within its borders and said the authorities may be disinclined to do so if cases were confirmed.

In his turn, Minister of Healthcare Nurmukhammed Amannepesov told the same briefing the Central Asian nation had 30,000 test kits at its disposal and was ordering 40,000 more from Russia, Turkey and Germany.

According to Amannepesov, three quarantine zones have been set up in Turkmenistan. He said 151 people remained in quarantine zones, most of them Turkmen citizens working as long-haul truck drivers.

It should be mentioned that it is the first time the official authorities has acknowledged the availability of quarantine zones in Turkmenistan, which has been repeatedly reported by the independent media outlets.

In the course of the briefing Turkmenistan officials reported that Turkmenistan has reopened most of its border crossing points and was preparing to reopen the remaining ones, on the Iranian border.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan

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