Eldor Aripov: “Knowledge is a powerful weapon in the fight against the spread of coronavirus”
Following the emergency summit, the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (Turkic Council) adopted a joint Declaration on the situation with coronavirus. The summit was attended by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, and Secretary General of the Turkic Council Baghdad Amreev and Director General of the Turkic Council Baghdad Amreev and World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhan Gebreyesus.
Director of the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan, Eldor Aripov, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the meeting, which was held for the first time in the form of a video conference, and about the steps that Uzbekistan is taking in connection with the coronavirus.
- What problems were discussed at a meeting of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS)?
- The main issue on the agenda is the joint response to the coronavirus pandemic. The problem of COVID-19 faced all the member countries of the CCTS. Within the national framework, systematic and decisive measures are being taken to curb the widespread spread of infection and protect the health of citizens. In this regard, it is very important to exchange accumulated experience and knowledge in the fight against this phenomenon, especially since we have something to share.
According to leading experts from the USA, Great Britain, Japan, as well as international organizations (EBRD, ADB, World Bank), Uzbekistan is taking thoughtful and verified measures to prevent the large-scale spread of infection, both domestically and at the regional level. In his speech, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev dwelt upon them in detail. In particular, an effective strategy for maintaining strict quarantine at the national level is being implemented in the republic.
In conditions when there is no vaccine against a new coronavirus and effective drugs in the world, such quarantine becomes the only effective way to prevent a massive outbreak of the disease. In this regard, the experience of China is indicative, where strict restrictive measures made it possible to quickly return the situation to normal. In addition, our medical capabilities and the potential of the healthcare system in all cities and regions of the republic have been mobilized. For example, as the head of state noted, a large quarantine zone and a modern modular medical institution are able to receive 30 thousand people in the Tashkent region. Moreover, this is done as soon as possible, in record time.
- What other measures are being taken in Uzbekistan to combat coronavirus?
- By the decision of the president, unprecedented measures were taken to support and socially protect medical personnel who are at the forefront of the fight against this invisible enemy and who daily risk their health in order to save people. Organized work on the open prompt delivery of information to the population related to the spread of coronavirus infection in the country. A high level of communication between government bodies and society has been established.
It is very important that the disruption of the educational process in schools and universities was not allowed. According to UNESCO, today in 180 countries, schools are quarantined due to coronavirus. This affected 1.5 billion students, that is, 87% of the total number in the world.
Targeted social assistance was organized for the most vulnerable groups of the population. Along with state bodies, representatives of civil society and volunteers are involved in this process. A progressive package of economic measures has been adopted to mitigate the impact of the crisis on relatively vulnerable sectors of the economy. An Anti-Crisis Fund under the Ministry of Finance has been created with an initial volume of 10 trillion soums. (more than 1 billion dollars)
Business and entrepreneurship entities were granted tax holidays, a number of other tax benefits and deferred loan payments. As the president of the Geneva diplomatic circle, Robert Blum, noted, "the situation in Uzbekistan is under control thanks to the decisions and measures adopted by the country's leadership. These measures were decisive and timely, which allowed to significantly protect the population from the catastrophe." Given all this, the international rating agency Fitch has maintained a stable rating of the banking sector of Uzbekistan. In addition, from the very beginning of the pandemic, the Uzbek president repeatedly held telephone conversations with all the leaders of the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan in order to coordinate efforts to ensure the epidemiological well-being in the region and to prevent the complication of our economic ties.
The feasible humanitarian assistance was provided to our neighbors - Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan. We are the only country in the region that borders all the states of Central Asia and Afghanistan. Therefore, it is so important for us to effectively interact with everyone. The epidemic knows no boundaries; it is impossible to isolate oneself from it separately.
- What initiatives did Uzbekistan take to respond to the coronavirus pandemic at the summit of the Turkic Council?
- Firstly, Shavkat Mirizeev proposed creating a permanent system of monitoring, analysis and forecasting of the epidemiological situation within the framework of the Turkic Council. The pandemic that we encountered showed that no one is safe from new outbreaks of infectious diseases, you need to be prepared for such situations, have well-coordinated tools for anticipation and response, including at the regional and international levels.
Therefore, the initiative of the head of Uzbekistan to create an effective system for tracking any changes in the epidemiological background, data exchange and analysis, as well as the development of coordinated decisions on the impact on the current situation is so important.
Secondly, Uzbekistan proposed to establish joint activities of ministries of health and leading medical institutions of Turkic-speaking countries to exchange information and experience in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dangerous infectious diseases.
The results of this work will make it possible to quickly study the main characteristics of the disease and methods of its treatment, to solve the issues of supplies and production of antiviral protection products, as well as laboratory tools for testing the population. Considering that these actions should be taken immediately, Uzbekistan proposed holding the first video conference in the near future with the participation of leading specialized experts.
Thirdly, the President initiated the establishment of the Ad Hoc Pandemic Coordination Group under the Secretariat of the Turkic Council. This group should establish close working contacts with the national headquarters in our countries for countering the pandemic in order to keep abreast and be able to interact quickly.
Only such solutions will save time, quickly discuss and implement joint action plans. The effectiveness of our efforts will increase at times if they are undertaken at the multilateral level. It is very important to ensure, within the framework of the activities of the coordination group, prompt and wide coverage of the efforts of our countries in the fight against coronavirus. Therefore, it was proposed to create a separate scientific and information resource on the CCTS website.
The resource should not only reliably inform about the situation in our countries. It is important to exchange experience on various methods of communicating to the population the rules of behavior in quarantine, the requirements of disease prevention. In a pandemic, knowledge is a powerful weapon in the fight against the spread of infection. On these issues, one should not hesitate to adopt the most successful experience of each other.
Fourthly, one of the key problems in the current crisis is the uninterrupted supply of the population with necessary food, medicines and medicines.
To solve problems in the field of logistics and transport, practical assistance in the transportation of goods under quarantine and border crossing in a simplified manner, the head of state proposed to create a working group under the leadership of the CCTS under the leadership of ministers of transport.
Fifth, understanding the global nature of the threat we are facing, the president separately emphasized the need to strengthen international cooperation and support the activities of multilateral organizations. In particular, he advocated further strengthening the status and mandate of the World Health Organization, establishing partnerships of this organization with the CCTS.
- Following the results of the summit, a Declaration of an extraordinary meeting of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states was adopted. What provisions are included in the document?
- It is necessary to highlight the fact that all the proposals of the President of Uzbekistan were reflected in it. This means that they were supported by all member countries. This means that the initiatives of Shavkat Mirziyoyev will find their practical embodiment, will make an important contribution both to the overall fight against coronavirus infection and to the socio-economic interests of our citizens.
As the president noted, “we all know that no country can effectively combat this pandemic. Therefore, we must act on the principles of solidarity, cooperation and mutual concern. Together we can do a lot.”
This view was also supported by other Council countries, which agreed on a global level to support the efforts of the UN in the fight against the pandemic and welcomed the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on April 2, 2020, Global Solidarity in the Fight against Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the very fact of holding a meeting of the heads of Turkic-speaking states and the readiness to solve the most pressing problems together as soon as possible testifies to the maturity and relevance of this organization.
In the world there are not many regional formats capable in today's conditions of quickly and effectively making joint decisions to counter the pandemic and the crisis. This once again confirms the timeliness of the decision of the head of Uzbekistan on joining the CCTS. Together, we will be able to overcome difficulties and hardships, stand shoulder to shoulder in front of them and get out of these tests even stronger and more united.