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COVID-19: Factories To Restart In Moscow Next Week Even As Cases Surge Across Russia

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Cemetery workers wearing protective gear bury a coronavirus victim at a cemetery on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, Russia, on May 6.

The global death toll from the coronavirus is nearing 260,000 with more than 3.6 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.

Russia

Industrial facilities and construction companies in the Russian capital will resume operations after May 12, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said amid reports that the number of coronavirus cases across the country increased by more than 10,000 over the previous 24 hours.

Sobyanin also said on May 6 during an online meeting of the government with President Vladimir Putin that it was too early for service-sector outlets in Moscow to reopen, even though the number of officially registered cases in the capital has decreased for the last few days.

Economy Minister Maksim Reshetnikov said at the session that economic activity in the country in general had fallen by one-third in comparison with what it was before the coronavirus lockdown was imposed at the end of March.

Also on May 6, health authorities said the number of coronavirus cases in Russia increased by more than 10,000 and reached 165,929, including 1,537 deaths. It was the fourth straight day with at least 10,000 new registered cases.

Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova's press service said on May 6 that she was among the newly infected, adding that the minister did not require hospitalization and the disease was proceeding in "a light form."

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Lyubimova is the third top official in Russia to test positive for the coronavirus, after Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev.

During the online session, Putin ordered regional governors to develop plans for the gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions after May 11.

Russia has imposed a partial lockdown on many regions, including Moscow, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Putin initially announced a nonworking week from March 28 to April 5, extended it until April 30, and later prolonged it again until May 11.

Central Asia

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is still working on a possible visit to Turkmenistan as the country continues to claim it is has yet to record a positive test for the coronavirus even as the outbreak engulfs its Central Asian neighbors.

Stephanie Brickman of the WHO's Europe Press Office told RFE/RL that a mission is currently in Tajikistan and had looked to continue on in a second leg of that trip to Turkmenistan, but could not amid reports that the government in Ashgabat has yet to issue an official invitaiton.

"In the initial planning phases, it was hoped that the mission could travel on to Turkmenistan after finishing in Tajikistan. We are still in the process of facilitating logistics, which proves to be challenging in current times," Brickman wrote in an email to RFE/RL.

Media reports this week cited a representative of the UN agency as saying that the visit to Turkmenistan could not take place since the prerequisite for any mission is an invitation from the host government interested in WHO assistance.

Turkmenistan has not reported any registered COVID-19 cases yet, but experts are skeptical of the claim given the lack of transparency and an independent media in the country.

Doctors in the country are not allowed to talk about the coronavirus, face masks are banned, and citizens are punished for publicly discussing the global pandemic.

Despite the claim of no cases, authorities have set up three quarantine zones around the country in a bid to prevent the spread of what they call "infectious diseases."

People with coronavirus symptoms are not being treated for the virus, and COVID-19 test results are unknown, even if they are performed.

RFE/RL's Coronavirus Crisis Archive

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In Tajikistan, where authorities confirmed coronavirus cases for the first time on April 30, authorities in the capital, Dushanbe, said on May 6 that that several makeshift hospitals to accommodate as many as 3,000 patients will be built in the city in just one month to treat the surging number of COVID-19 infections.


However, experts told RFE/RL that Dushanbe and other towns and cities in the country already face a shortage of medical personnel and equipment to treat coronavirus patients in current existing hospitals and temporary treatment sites housed in kindergartens, schools, and university dormitories.

A day earlier Tajik President Emomali Rahmon relieved Health Minister Nasim Olimzoda of his duties and appointed Jamoliddin Abdullozoda to the post.

According to official data, 293 coronavirus cases, including five deaths, have been registered in Tajikistan.

In neighboring Uzbekistan, the number of coronavirus cases was reported as 2,217, including 10 deaths, as of May 6.

In Kyrgyzstan, the latest figures are 871 cases with 12 deaths.

The largest number of coronavirus cases in the region has been officially registered in Kazakhstan, with 4,298 cases with 29 deaths

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