Governments of Central Asia Respond to COVID-19 Spread
Central Asian countries are ready to join efforts to fight against coronavirus. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have already agreed to collaborate at the highest level, coordinating activities of the governments. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev discussed the situation on COVID-19 spread with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev by telephone on March 18th.
The number of infected people in Uzbekistan has reached 15. Uzbek Health Ministry has reported four new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.
Uzbek authorities announced that they will prosecute those who hide symptoms of the disease and intentionally expose other people to the deadly virus. Violators can face up to eight years in jail.
The United States has provided free assistance to Uzbekistan to prevent the coronavirus spread, sending 10,000 gloves, 10,000 masks, 1,400 isolation suits and 200 safety glasses. The protective equipment against the infection will be distributed between the regional centers and cities of Uzbekistan.
“Novel coronavirus is a global threat for public health that can be addressed only through close cooperation between governments and international organizations,” said Daniel Rosenblum, the U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan.
Kyrgyzstan has confirmed three cases of COVID-19. The infected people are 70, 62 and 46 years old men, Uzbek Health Minister Kosmosbek Cholponbayev reported. They traveled back from Saudi Arabia on March 12th and were placed in residence-based quarantine upon arrival. All infected people are currently placed in the infectious diseases unit of the Jalal-Abad regional hospital.
Kyrgyzstan has closed its borders to all foreign travelers starting today. The restriction doesn’t apply to diplomats and drivers involved in international freight.
“Kyrgyz citizens are allowed to both enter and leave the country. However, upon arrival they will be quarantined, whether they will be sent to hospitals or stay hom depends on where they come from. Foreign nationals are allowed to leave the country as they wish,” Kyrgyz Deputy Foreign Minister, Nurlan Abdrakhmanov commented.
Turkmenistan has also introduced new regulations for entering the country. Travelers will be required to show health certificates proving they are not infected with COVID-19 before entering the country’s territory. The foreign travelers, who have recently visited any of the countries with the confirmed coronavirus cases, will undergo a medical inspection or otherwise they will be expelled from the country or sent to quarantine, which can last up to 24 days.
The medical tests and quarantine will cost the foreign travelers at least US$300. Travelers, entering Turkmenistan, will be required to pay the fee in cash.