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COVID-19: Mirziyoev Reprimands Uzbek Health Minister, Regional Officials Over Efforts To Battle Virus

Doctors in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan, treat suspected patients with COVID-19 on July 16.

The global death toll from the coronavirus is almost 585,000, with nearly 13.6 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the respiratory illness.

Here's a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL's broadcast regions.


Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has reprimanded Health Minister Alisher Shodmonov, Tashkent Mayor Jahongir Ortiqhojaev, and other top regional officials for what he called "failing" to properly handle the situation around the coronavirus outbreak.

The July 16 announcement came a day after Mirziyoev said during a government session that ministry and regional officials, "especially the government of the Tashkent region and Tashkent city officials," had lost control over the situation at medical facilities, adding that the ministry had "significantly violated the strategy and tactics" of the efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the last 30 days.

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Mirziyoev stressed that in recent weeks important medicines used to treat acute respiratory diseases either disappeared from pharmacies or prices jumped by as much as 800 percent.

"People have no information about where to refer to get tests on coronavirus or get treatment for coronavirus and other diseases. It became a problem to get an ambulance assistance," Mirziyoev said.

Mirziyoev ordered a tripling of so-called mobile groups that deal with coronavirus patients at all hospitals in Tashkent and the region, as well as the addition of 1,000 beds at a newly built hospital in the capital, measures to regulate medicine prices, improvements to ambulance services and call-center operations, and an increase in financial compensation for medical personnel.

According to the latest official data, the number of coronavirus cases in Uzbekistan as of July 15 was 14,581, including 71 deaths.


Officials in the southern region of Turkistan said late on July 15 that the regional governor's first deputy, Qosman Aitmukhametov, had died of COVID-19 at the age of 57.

Earlier in the day, President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev signed a decree to posthumously award medals to 40 medical personnel who lost their lives while treating COVID-19 patients.

As of July 16, the number of coronavirus cases in Kazakhstan was reported at 65,188, including 396 deaths -- the highest numbers in Central Asia.


Health Ministry official Ainura Akmatova said on July 16 that the number of medical personnel infected with the coronavirus while treating COVID-19 patients was 2,076.

President Sooronbai Jeenbekov on July 16 visited the family of a senior student from the Medical University in Bishkek, Adinai Myrzabekova, who died of pneumonia on July 13, just 11 days after she started working as a volunteer at a medical facility treating COVID-19 patients in the Kyrgyz capital.

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On July 15, Jeenbekov posthumously awarded Myrzabekova with the Erdik (For Heroism) medal.

As of July 16, the number of coronavirus cases in Kyrgyzstan was reported at 12,498, including 167 deaths.


The head of the northern Bobojon Ghafurov district, Zarif Naziri, said on July 15 that the control along the border with Kyrgyzstan had been beefed up "to prevent possible coronavirus spread" from the neighboring country that "is facing spike in coronavirus cases."

As of July 15, the number of coronavirus cases in the country was officially reported as 6,695, including 56 deaths.

However, an investigative report by RFE/RL’s Tajik Service last month revealed that the real number of lethal cases of COVID-19 in the country might be several hundred.


Turkmenistan is the only country in the region that has not not officially registered any coronavirus cases, but RFE/RL correspondents have reported that local hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients with pneumonia symptoms, some of whom, including medical personnel, have died.

In some parts of the country, so-called quarantine zones have been established and some industrial facilities are being shut down, RFE/RL correspondents report.

The leader of the World Health Organization's mission, Catherine Smallwood, told a press conference in Ashgabat on July 15 that the mission had concerns about reports of pneumonia in the tightly controlled energy-rich nation.

Smallwood advised the Turkmen government to activate “the critical public health measures in Turkmenistan, as if COVID-19 was circulating.”

With reporting by RFE/RL's Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Turkmen services
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