COVID-19: ‘Coronavirus Free’ Tajikistan Shuts Schools To Protect Public Health

The global death toll from the coronavirus is more than 191,000 with over 2.7 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 COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL’s broadcast regions.

Tajikistan

Even as the lack of an officially declared coronavirus infection draws skepticism, Tajikistan has announced that it will close schools for two weeks, ban public gatherings, and temporarily halt grain exports as a precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government’s body tasked with preventing a coronavirus outbreak announced on April 25 that the measures will affect institutions of learning from preschool to high school, and were implemented in order to “protect the public health and safety of the population, especially children and adolescents.”

Universities will continue to operate, according to Ministry of Education’s press center.

The suspension of grain exports is intended to conserve domestic supplies, according to the government, while the ban on public gatherings will affect cinemas, theaters, and sporting events.

Tajikistan borders China, where the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 2.8 million people and killed nearly 198,000 originated.

But the Central Asian country has officially yet to record a coronavirus case, leading to concerns that officials could be hiding the presence of infections or that the country’s beleaguered health-care sector may not be testing adequately.

Galina Perfiliyeva, a representative for the World Health Organization, in an April 22 interview reversed earlier comments and said that “to categorically state that there are no cases [of coronavirus] in the country is not possible.”

The Muslim-majority country of nearly 9 million people has shut the borders and closed mosques, but has continued to hold events such as soccer games, although without spectators.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Tajik Service
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