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'Coronavirus-Free' Turkmenistan Extends Lockdown Measures


Many vendors and shop owners have continued to sell goods in the streets, running away when police arrive to detain violators of the lockdown regime.

ASHGABAT -- Authorities in Turkmenistan, where the government has yet to officially register a single case of coronavirus, have extended restrictions usually imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The measures forcing private shops and restaurants to close and street vendors to cease their activities were set to end on November 1, but the authorities extended them for two weeks. Weddings, burials, or other ceremonies will also remain banned across the country.

The authorities gave no explanation for the decision, but local officials said they were aimed at preventing the spread of "contagious diseases."

The restrictions were imposed in August as the situation with coronavirus-like diseases abruptly worsened and the number of fatalities rose rapidly.

However, many vendors and shop owners have continued to sell goods in the streets, running away when police arrive to detain violators of the lockdown regime.

RFE/RL correspondents report that some vendors are bribing police officers to continue to sell groceries and other goods in the streets. In some cases, people are also bribing local officials or police officers in order to hold private gatherings.

Turkmenistan's government still clings to its narrative that the country has no cases of coronavirus -- even though practically no one believes them.

People in different parts of the country have told RFE/RL that the bodies of those who have died of COVID-19-like lung diseases were being delivered to their relatives in special plastic bags and the number of fresh graves across the country was increasing exponentially.

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