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Uzbekistan Sending Medical Supplies To Virus-Hit China

Uzbekistan is sending protective cloths, disposable gloves, masks, and other supplies to China to support Beijing's efforts to control the spread of the new coronavirus.

President Shavkat Mirziyoev signed the relevant decree on February 11, the government said, as a fully loaded military cargo plane departed the Uzbek capital, Tashkent.

The February 12 cabinet statement said the government was preparing a second shipment.

Chinese authorities reported shortages of protective medical equipment after the COVID-19 virus emerged in the country late last year.

The disease has killed more than 1,100 people in China, where the overall number of infections now stands at more than 44,000.

The epidemic has spread to more than 20 countries around the world, but there have been no confirmed cases in Uzbekistan or the other four Central Asian republics -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Uzbekistan has stopped all regular flights to China, its major trade partner, as a protective measure.

The country’s Health Ministry said 771 Uzbek citizens who had recently returned from China remained in quarantine.

The incubation period for the virus is up to 14 days.

The Chinese mail service said it was disinfecting postal offices, processing centers, and vehicles in a bid to protect staff and prevent the virus from spreading via the mail.

The crisis was impacting mail that transits China to other destinations including the five Central Asian republics, according to China Post.

With reporting by Reuters and AP