Kyrgyzstan has confirmed its first three coronavirus cases as three citizens tested positive after arriving from Saudi Arabia, Healthcare Minister Kosmosbek Cholponbayev reportedly said on March 18. According to the news agency report, the infected men, along with 90 people who arrived in Kyrgyzstan on the same flight, are in isolation. Kyrgyz authorities are working to establish who else the men were in contact with. Despite having no confirmed cases of the new virus until March 17, the government had already taken measures to prevent the disease from spreading in the country.
In order to protect the people of Kyrgyzstan from the outbreak, all schools and universities are shut down for three weeks. Movie theaters, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes with more than 50 seats available are also closed for the time being. All international trains and buses have been cancelled. Kyrgyzstan shares its border with China, where the outbreak first began in December, and two of its neighbours, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, also confirmed their first cases this month.
Apart from this all three countries and Tajikistan, former Soviet central Asian republic, have put a ban on public events and have also suspended Friday prayers at mosques. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have also closed their borders and the former is locking down two of its biggest cities to contain the outbreak.
In order to prevent the massive outbreak reaching Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz government in February decided to temporarily close the state border with China and suspend air traffic between the countries to prevent the import and spread of coronavirus. “Kyrgyzstan temporarily closes the state border with the People’s Republic of China and suspends air traffic. This decision was made ... by the Republican headquarters to prevent entry into the country and prevent the further spread of coronavirus in the territory of Kyrgyzstan,” Kyrgyz government said in a press release.
At the same time, certain sanitary measures were also adopted at all checkpoints of the republic and at the airports of Bishkek and Osh. Earlier, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health proposed the idea of closing the border with China after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the recent stats, in mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 81,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 69,000 have recovered. The overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 80,894 as of March 18, including 9,898 patients who were still being treated, 69,614 patients who had been discharged after recovery, and 3,237 people who died of the disease.