COVID-19: Tajikistan’s Soccer Season To Kick Off Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

The global death toll has reached almost 60,000 with over 1.1 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the new respiratory illness.

Here’s a roundup of developments in RFE/RL’s broadcast countries.

Tajikistan

Tajikistan’s soccer league is expected to kick off despite virtually every competition around the world having postponed its season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The small Central Asian country of nearly 9 million has not reported a single coronavirus infection.

The Super Cup soccer final between champions Istiklol and Khujand will be played on April 4, although officials have decided the game will be played without fans.

The 10-team league kicks off on April 5 with three games, which will also be played behind closed doors.

Tajikistan was widely criticized for organizing large parades, concerts, and sporting events to celebrate Norouz, the Persian New Year, in March, ignoring World Health Organization (WHO) warnings about large social gatherings.

The Tajik Health Ministry has insisted that there has not been one confirmed case of the coronavirus infection in the country.

Why Numbers Don’t Tell The Full Story

A daily compilation of global coronavirus cases by Johns Hopkins University is currently the most comprehensive in the world, but it relies on information provided by governments.

In many countries, there are restrictions on releasing such information or reasons why the full story might not want to be told.

The methodology, immediacy, transparency, and quality of this data can vary dramatically country by country.

The ministry said that 6,272 people were taken under a mandatory two-week quarantine after arriving in Tajikistan from abroad between February 1 and April 2.

Russia

Russia has recorded 582 new cases and nine deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recorded cases to over 4,700 and the overall death toll to 43 early on April 4.

Critics believe the real number is higher and have accused Russian authorities of underreporting the extent of the outbreak in the country.

Iran

In Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, the death toll climbed to 3,452 on April 4, with 158 more fatalities recorded over the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said.

The real numbers of infected and dead are believed to be significantly higher.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Tajik Service and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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