Uzbekistan becomes red zone due to coronavirus
On July 10, Uzbekistan has introduced strict quarantine restrictions for 20 days due to a new coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has affected the country's economic situation. President Shavkat Miriziyoyev is betting on small business and entrepreneurship. Experts believe that it will take at least a year and a half to restore production.
Uzbekistan was one of the first post-Soviet state to impose tough measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. In early March, all educational institutions were quarantined, both international and domestic flights, trains were suspended. Public transport in the cities was stopped, companies and organizations were moved to remote work, and the population was sent to voluntary self-isolation. Quite tough measures have been beneficial. An anti-crisis fund of € 950 million was formed to mitigate economic consequences. The republic made it out of isolation with the least losses. As of June 30, a total of 8,385 COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths were recorded in the country. But today this number has grown to 11,447 people and 48 respectively.
Now, the whole territory of Uzbekistan will become a red zone - the most dangerous zone in connection with the growing spread of infection. According to press secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Uzbekistan Shohrukh Giyasov, all Uzbek regions are divided into zones depending on the COVID-19 situation - the most dangerous - red, yellow and green - free from the virus. In particular, Tashkent was in the yellow zone.
By decision of the Uzbek authorities, labor migration within the country will be prohibited, as well as trade (except for food and medicine), all food and drink venues will be closed, offering only takeaway or delivery services.
In addition, any recreational activities will be prohibited during this period, including weddings. People over 65 are not allowed to visit public places, people are not allowed to gather in a group of more than three people.
The representative of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health's coronavirus headquarters Habibulla Okilov at an online briefing said that the newly introduced restrictions should interrupt the new COVID outbreak. "If we do not take harsh measures, the consequences can be tragic," he said. According to Okilov, if the number of new cases grows to 1000 per day, then Uzbekistan's health care system "will collapse completely."
The authorities are also worried by labor migrants arriving from Russia and Kazakhstan. Yesterday, over 2.5 thousand people crossed the Kazakh-Uzbek border. Since last week, they have been waiting for permission to cross the Zhibek Zholy checkpoint in the Saryagash district of the Turkestan region of Kazakhstan, Akim of the Saryagash region Mukhit Otarshiev said. About a thousand people are waiting for the decicion. This means that the number of unemployed will increase. In total, about 2 million people are registered in the republic, according to the Ministry of Labor and Employment. Another quarantine can cause irreparable damage to the economy of the republic.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, speaking at a video conference on June 8, said that the second wave was coming, and many countries had already faced it. "The current situation shows that any magic recipes to counter this infection have not yet been developed. The international community, the world's largest research centers, the strongest scientists are working hard to find a cure. And we hope that the studies will soon yield their positive results," Mirziyoyev said.
According to him, "in the meantime, we need to learn how to live and work amid pandemic in order to normalize life, restore the economy, and with iron discipline continue the work begun on this front, taking all precautions." The president ordered 69,000 entrepreneurs to return to work: "The only way to get out of the strong pandemic is to create an enabling environment for small businesses and entrepreneurship." By the end of this year, more than 70% of enterprises will reopen, and in the future - all of them. Of the entrepreneurs registered last year, 23 thousand or 24% of the total number are not working today. Managers were instructed to establish a dialogue with them and take measures to resume their activities as soon as possible. The government promised to help them to solve their issues.