COVID-19: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan Tighten Restrictions; U.S. Embassy In Kabul Reports Cases
June 20, 2020
The global death toll from the coronavirus is more than 460,000, with more than 8.6 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the respiratory illness.
Here's a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL's broadcast regions.
Kyrgyzstan has announced it is tightening coronavirus restrictions after an increase in new cases.
Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov said on June 20 that public transport in the capital, Bishkek, and routes between all of its provinces were being shut down until June 22.
The move came as the number of new coronavirus cases in the Central Asian nation rose by 192.
"We must ensure the country's full readiness for a worsening of the epidemiological situation," Boronov said. "We see daily growth in new COVID-19 cases."
The former Soviet republic of 6.5 million people, which now has 2,981 reported cases of the virus, ended a state of emergency accompanied by curfews and lockdowns in May.
Neighboring Kazakhstan, which has 25,000 confirmed cases, has also introduced new weekend restrictions.
It has closed all shopping malls, markets, and parks in major cities as it fights a second wave of the outbreak.
The U.S. State Department says COVID-19 infections have been reported at its embassy in the Afghan capital.
The State Department did not say how many were affected. An official at the embassy in Kabul told the AP news agency that as many as 20 people were infected, the majority of whom are Nepalese Gurkhas, who provide embassy security.
"The embassy is implementing all appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," the U.S. State Department said on June 20.
Afghanistan has 28,424 confirmed coronavirus cases. Lack of testing and access to it may mean the numbers are much higher, international aid organizations monitoring the pandemic's spread in the country say.
They also fear the contagious disease has spread widely throughout the country with the return of nearly 300,000 Afghans from Iran, the hardest-hit country in the region. Iran has recorded more than 200,000 cases and 9,392 deaths.
Few of the Afghans who returned from Iran were tested before they fanned out across the country to their homes.
Earlier this month the International Rescue Committee warned Afghanistan was on the brink of a humanitarian disaster mostly because the government does not have the capacity to even test 80 percent of coronavirus cases.
Until now a handful of NATO troops have also tested positive for the infection.
With reporting by Reuters and AP
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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