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Majlis Podcast: The Coronavirus In Central Asia

A law enforcement officer at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Almaty on March 19, after authorities locked down the city to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The first cases of the coronavirus were reported in Kazakhstan on March 13 and since then infections have been reported in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Governments and medical workers in those three countries have been scrambling to keep the number of cases as low as possible.

The governments in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, as of March 29, maintained there were no cases on their territories, and while Turkmenistan has taken some measures, such as restricting internal travel, the Tajik authorities seem to be actually encouraging mass gatherings of people.

This week, RFE/RL's Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion on the measures Central Asian governments are -- and are not -- taking as the numbers of those afflicted with the coronavirus rise.

From Kazakhstan, Aigerim Toleukhan, a correspondent for RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, known locally as Azattyq, joined the discussion. From Kyrgyzstan, Shirin Aitmatova, founder of the anti-corruption movement Umut (Hope) 2020, took part in the conversation. And from Uzbekistan, Nikita Makarenko, a journalist at, participated in the panel. I also had a few things to say.

Majlis Podcast: The Coronavirus In Central Asia
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.​

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.


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