While the COVID-19 health crisis has gripped the global headlines, one isolated Central Asian country--Turkmenistan has ordered to ban the usage of 'Coronavirus', with officials reportedly arresting those using the word. In a report published by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, the authorities of Turkmenistan have resorted to this move to blacken any information around the pandemic.
With the motive to suppress information around the pandemic, Turkmenistan has barred its citizens from using 'Coronavirus' on the streets and even on official documents. The heavily policed state is dealing with the crisis by living in denial and refusing the acknowledge it. Reportedly, the monitored state media is avoiding news about the virus and depriving the citizens of relevant information around it. The media watchdog also said that those wearing face masks or talking about COVID-19 could even face arrests by the Police.
The country led by "Father Protector" Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov was one of the foremost countries to shut its borders early in February and is reportedly disinfecting public spaces in the country. Turkmenistan, the secretive country that ranked at the bottommost of the World Press Freedom Index in 2019 beating even North Korea to it, has reported zero cases of COVID-19 in the country and removed the word from public information sources. However, numerous cases have already been reported in neighbouring Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Iran.
In March, the Turkmenistan President reported ordered the government to fumigate the country with a herb that is known to have psychedelic effects on ingestion. He claimed that the smoke would annihilate the virus that is "invisible to the naked eye", as per international media.
Over 900,000 cases of Coronavirus have been officially detected worldwide. At least 905,589 cases including 45,719 deaths have been recorded in 187 countries and territories across the globe. 203,608 cases and 4,476 deaths are recorded in the United States, followed by Italy with 110,574 detected cases and the highest death toll with 13,155 cases. Meanwhile, Spain confirmed 102,136 cases including 9,053 deaths.