Coronavirus in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
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Mar 21, 2020 Update
We Asked: What is currently happening with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak in your area? Please provide as much detail as possible. He replied...
Uzbekistan is in lockdown and all schools were closed this week until April 5. A number of new cases of infected people rose this week, so if the rise continues, there's a chance schools will remain closed longer. This past week, I heard only two commercial airliners take off from the nearby international airport in Tashkent. These must be repatriation flights, since all regular flights were grounded about 2-3 weeks ago. 2400 returnees are either in quarantine or in isolation at home.
How People are Coping
We Asked: How are people handling the situation in your area? He replied...
Most people here are taking the outbreak lightly. Very few people are wearing masks and all the restaurants I've been frequenting are still busy. The shopping malls and markets are still crowded.
Changing Conditions as coronavirus Spreads
We Asked: How has the situation changed as the Coronavirus has spread? He replied...
The Corona virus hasn't hardly spread at all. There are only 24 confirmed cases as far as I know. And these have been contained. There is much dust in the dry air in Tashkent, notably in Spring. So, this condition must be stifling the transmission of the virus. In fact, some people who are wearing masks here could be because of the irritating dust.
We Asked: Describe how the government of the country about which you are reporting is handling this situation. He replied...
The government closed Uzbekistan's borders about 2-3 weeks ago. I was surprised that the borders weren't closed much sooner because of the regular flux of Chinese and Koreans into the country. These foreign national returnees are among the quarantined and isolated at the present time. The government enforced measures to track them down and, so to speak, apprehend them. An Uzbek business man with government ties told a colleague of mine that the Feds are considering having all expats leave the country soon if the situation worsens.
Government Response with Regard to Expats
We Asked: Describe how your home country's government has handled the outbreak situation with regards to its expatriate citizens. He replied...
Canada has closed its borders for non-essential travelling.
Supplies and Shortages
We Asked: Is there a shortage of supplies in your location? He replied...
I'm having a hard time finding a mask, since I'm allergic to dust. I don't fear contracting the virus at all because I don't go to crowded places and stay home most of the time.
Preparing for the Future
We Asked: What are you doing in terms of preparations in case the situation deteriorates in your location? He replied...
Well, I haven't started preparing anything yet. But if the government of UZ asks all foreigners to leave the country, I'll have to get rid of many personal belongings and start packing.
Lockdown & Passing the Time
We Asked: Are you staying home? If so, how are you passing the time?
I stay home most of the time writing on my blog and reading books. I occasionally go out for long strolls, shopping, and eating out. However, this is what I've been doing for the past couple of years. It isn't because I fear catching the virus. The situation here is far from critical. I feel safer staying put than travelling back home to Canada. I prefer to avoid airports.
Public Healthcare & Public Hospitals
We Asked: Are you enrolled in the public healthcare system where you live? Do you feel that the public hospitals are handling or preparing for the Coronavirus outbreak effectively? He replied...
The healthcare system and medical facilities in Uzbekistan are poor. For this reason, I hope not to get sick. However, the medical authorities are keeping the public informed of the situation and advising people how what precautions to take.
Private Health Insurance & Private Hospitals
We Asked: Do you have private health insurance? If you have private insurance, does this give you access to private hospitals? Are private hospitals or clinics better prepared, less prepared, or the same? Please explain. He replied...
Unfortunately, my employer doesn't provide any health insurance, but only a $200 health allowance in case I do need hospitalization. I've seen the hospitals and clinics here while having medical check-ups done, so I hope I don't catch the virus here. I have very little confidence in the care I'd be given just by having seen these places.
Hospital of Choice for Coronavirus Treatment
We Asked: Would you choose a public or private hospital if you needed treatment for Coronavirus? Why? If there is a specific hospital that you would go to in the event of severe illness? Which hospital and why? He replied...
This is something I should start looking into - private health insurance to start with.
We Asked: Are you considering returning to your home country due to the Coronavirus? Would this be a temporary move or a permanent repatriation? Please explain. He replied...
I hope to continue teaching here and not have to return home. I'm more concerned about my financial state and livelihood than I am about contracting the virus. And I do feel safe here. The situation is hardly noticeable.
Advice for People Outside of Tashkent, Uzbekistan
We Asked: If you live in an area already heavily affected by coronavirus, what advice would you share with others elswhere in the world who may be facing the same challenges in the future. He replied...
I live in an area that is barely affected, so I can't comment. But if I were in Italy, I'd get out as soon as possible.
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