An Uzbek citizen returning from France has tested positive for the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, confirmed Uzbekistan's Healthcare Ministry on Sunday, March 15. This is the first infection in the Central Asian country.
The government said that they were taking the necessary steps to control the situation. Uzbekistan has stopped flights to several countries including the worst-hit countries such as Iran and Italy. On Sunday, the country said that they would be stopping the flights to several cities in Western Europe, Asia, and the Middle East until the end of April.
As of early March, there were no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Central Asia despite sitting close to China which is the epicentre of the new virus. Countries in Central Asia has been working on keeping the citizens safe with several preventive measures. Kazakhstan has also confirmed six cases of the Covid-19 as of March 14.
Prevention measures in Central Asia
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are the only two countries that have reported cases of the Covid-19. Kazakhstan was reported to be free of the virus until March 13 when four cases were reported. Around 1,000 people are in quarantine and 500 people went into self-quarantine.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan have moved to stricter measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in the respective states. The concern about measures comes from the fact that they are very close to China.
As the disease spread in China, Kazhakstan suspended all forms of passenger travel from and to China in order to safeguard any possible infections in the country. Kazhakstan adopted a three-tier system to their measures as soon as the rate of the infection spread.
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan had also implemented travel bans and strict measures to hopefully stop the infection at the early stages.
(This is a developing story and will be updated)