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COVID-19: Mosques In Iran To Resume Daily Prayers; Uzbekistan Starts Lifting Some Restrictions


Uzbek soldiers set up a new mobile hospital for coronavirus patients on a military base in Samarkand on May 28.

The global death toll from the coronavirus is almost 370,000 with more than 5.9 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.


President Hassan Rohani says mosques are to resume daily prayers throughout Iran, even though some areas are facing a rise in coronavirus infections.

"Doors to mosques across the country will open to public for daily prayers," Rohani said on May 30, adding that health protocols should be observed. He did not say when the eased measures would take effect.

Rohani also warned Iranians against believing that the country was rid of the virus, emphasizing that it was here to stay.

Iranian authorities have gradually eased restrictions put in place to contain the Middle East's deadliest outbreak of coronavirus, which has killed over 7,700 people and infected nearly 150,000, according to official figures. The real numbers are believed to be significantly higher.

Alireza Zali, head of the government-led Coronavirus Task Force of Tehran, told state TV the situation in the capital was "still not favorable," adding that the easing of restrictions should be accompanied by a "more serious observance" of health regulations.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on May 29 there had been no deaths in the previous 24 hours in 15 of the country's provinces and one in each of five provinces.

The provinces of Khuzestan in the southwest, and Baluchistan in the southeast of the country, have been declared "red" areas due to high levels of infection.


Uzbekistan’s government has extended its coronavirus lockdown until June 15, but authorities say they are starting to lift restrictions in some parts of the country "depending on the epidemiological situation."

Uzbekistan's coronavirus-response headquarters also announced on May 30 that it will allow soccer league games to resume on June 5, but without any audience in attendance.

The special commission said the extension applies to "quarantine" restrictions as well as "enhanced measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus."

Uzbekistan on May 8 divided all regions of the country into zones depending on the spread of coronavirus -- including "red" zones deemed the most dangerous, "yellow" cautionary zones, and "green" zones declared as being free from the coronavirus.

The special commission said on May 30 that activities of realtors and organizations working in advertising and marketing would be permitted in red zones beginning on June 1.

Driving-education centers and some public organizations are also allowed to resume working in the yellow zones from June 1, it said.

Gyms, retreat centers and resorts, children's camps, and hotels are allowed to start working in green zones, the commission said.

Weddings and other family celebrations are also allowed in green zones starting on June 1 provided they comply with "all sanitary regulations," the commission said.

Health officials in Uzbekistan have reported 3,513 cases of the disease, including 14 deaths, since the first case was confirmed there on March 15.

With reporting by IRNA, Reuters, AFP, TASS, and Interfax
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