06/17/2020, 10.58
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The 'Mongolian triangle' in the wake of the pandemic

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have been "denialist" countries for months, refusing to admit the seriousness of the epidemic. In Kazakhstan there are at least 20 thousand cases; there are demonstrations in Kyrgyzstan to overthrow the regime; in Uzbekistan there are 5 thousand infected; in Turkmenistan it is said that there are no cases, but hospitals and cemeteries are full.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Central Asian countries that believed themselves immune from coronavirus infection (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) are now facing the peak of the pandemic. The negationist policies of the political leaders of the so-called "Mongolian triangle" do not help populations to adequately deal with the situation.

The number of positive cases in Kazakhstan has exceeded the threshold of 20 thousand cases, distributed in all regions: 15 thousand are officially recognized cases (400 alone in the last 24 hours); over 5 thousand are asymptomatic cases that are not counted by government statistics. Almost 100 deaths, most are concentrated in the main cities: the capital Nur-Sultan, Karaganda and Almaty. The director of the central health office of Nur-Sultan, Kamalzhan Nadyrov (photo 2), has already pointed out that a further progression could lead to the saturation of the ICU hospitals in the capital, leading to "situations similar to the Italy or the United States". On 15 June, the protocol for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in Kazakhstan was modified for the ninth time, providing for the application of etiotropic therapies with the use of Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine, not recommended by the World Health Organization. Kazakh Health Minister Elzhan Birtanov himself (photo 3) fell ill with coronavirus and went into self-isolation; following this, other ministers also decided to quarantine themselves, and the activities of the Council of Ministers were postponed until a later date.

In Kyrgyzstan, the fight against the pandemic continues to be associated with attempts to overthrow the current regime, with various street protests that began before the quarantine period. Finally, Prime Minister Muhammetkaliy Abulgaziyev resigned on 15 June. After repeated accusations of corruption, the outgoing prime minister said he was resigning "in the interest of conducting an objective full-blown investigation ... Once again I wish to reiterate that I am totally alien to the accusations made against me". Meanwhile, coronavirus positive cases in the country are increasing: almost 100 in the last 24 hours. The deputy minister of health, Nurbolot Usenbaev (photo 4), observed that "the population does not observe health needs, and there are many cases in which citizens do not know where and when they are infected ... the situation is likely to become uncontrollable ".

In Uzbekistan, the number of Covid-19 infected people is also growing sharply, exceeding 5,000 people. Quarantine measures (3 levels: red, yellow and green) in the country have been extended until August 1st. For now there are only 20 deaths reported, and 30 thousand people in "red" level isolation. Companies that have been allowed to continue their activities, however, will be attributed the criminal and civil liability of the infected who are identified among their employees, including the obligation of economic compensation.

Turkmenistan continues to officially deny the presence of the coronavirus on its territory, where, moreover, hospitals and cemeteries are beyond capacity (for a week the doctors of the infectious disease departments have not been able to return home), and in these days also had to face a series of floods . Some villages located on the border between the Velayati (regions) of Marijsk and Lebapsk have been submerged by the flooding of the Karakumskij Kanal, possibly caused by the collapse of the Soltan Bend dam on the Murgab River. About a hundred houses have been submerged, and so far the authorities have not been able to organize effective relief for the population. President Gurbangul Berdymukhamedov also visited Moscow in recent days, and guaranteed his presence at the Russian Victory parade on June 25th. President Vladimir Putin thanked the "loyalty" of the Turkmen and promised aid to deal with the epidemic and the floods.

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