Turkmenistan remains the only Central Asian country with zero COVID-19 cases. The authorities have not officially recorded a coronavirus case within its borders but have banned trips across the Turkmen soil without solid reasons, RFERL reported.
Under the new protocol, trips across ‘zero-covid’ Turkmenistan now are possible only if they are allowed by special commissions. Of course, the reason for the cross-border trip should be “extenuating” like the death of a relative, medical necessity, written invitations to work, or business trips.
According to the new Turkmen rules, the borders will be closed for two months. In fact, until January 1, 2021, any trip across Turkmenistan can only be made with the special approval by local governments.
There was no official statement on the new regulation, but since October 31 local authorities have stopped performing coronavirus-tests, results of which were necessary to travel across the country.
For common people, the stricter rules make another obstacle, the new regulation is hitting hardest are those residing in towns and villages whose employers are in the capital city Ashgabat.
The authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov’s office has closed the border despite Turkmenistan has no confirmed COVID-19 infections since the virus woke up in Wuhan last year. The novel pathogen has infected at least 47.3 million people globally but none in Turkmenistan.
In ‘zero-coronavirus’ Turkmenistan people prefer to stay at home
Many Turkmens say they prefer to stay home when ill, fearing they may become infected with the novel virus during visits to hospitals that are overwhelmed with patients with corona-like symptoms.
The bodies of those dying of COVID-19-like lung problems are being delivered to their relatives in special plastic bags, and the number of fresh graves across the Central Asia nation is increasing exponentially.
Earlier in August, the World Health Organization expressed concern over an increase of atypical pneumonia cases in Turkmenistan and unsuccessfully urged the government to allow it to organize independent COVID-19 tests in the country.