COVID-19 Death Toll Said To Be Rising In 'Coronavirus-Free' Turkmenistan.

ASHGABAT -- Sources in Ashgabat's health directorate say deaths from COVID-19 are rising in Turkmenistan, where the government has not publicly confirmed a single coronavirus infection since the start of the pandemic last year.

The sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the topic, told RFE/RL that the daily death toll in the tightly controlled Central Asian state's capital had reached 70 by last weekend.

Around 1 million of the country's 6 million or so residents live in the capital.

The sources said Ashgabat's hospitals were being overwhelmed, and confirmed earlier reports that medical authorities were discouraging patients from going to the hospital or referring them to a newly built hospital in the Yzgant, in the south-central region of Ahal.

"We recommend that all residents not leave their homes if it isn't urgent," one of the sources in the capital said.

RFE/RL's Coronavirus Coverage

Features and analysis, videos, and infographics explore how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the countries in our region.

The government have introduced anti-pandemic measures in all regions of the country and restrictions like mask requirements in public places have been tightened.

But Turkmen government and state-run medical facilities have never acknowledged a single coronavirus infection.

State-controlled media in the former Soviet republic have avoided mention of any ongoing local COVID-19 crisis.

RFE/RL was unable to get responses for this story from the Health Ministry, the State Sanitary and Epidemiology Service, or regional authorities.

There have been other signals of a grinding health crisis in the country despite official denials.

In January, authorities in the eastern region of Lebap instructed employees of state organizations, schools, medical institutions, and schoolchildren to carry personal medicine boxes with them containing among other items, bottles of licorice root syrup to tackle possible "lung disease," with fines for noncompliance.

That move followed a televised government session at which Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov cited "the great abilities" of licorice root to prevent potential coronavirus infection.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced in June that it was canceling the 2021 Track Cycling World Championships slated for Turkmenistan in October "at the request of the organizers, as the health constraints and restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic make it impossible to stage the event in the country."

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Online hate against MPs 'out of control'  - Deputy PM.

Online hate against MPs 'out of control' - Deputy PM.

Dominic Raab has told Sky News online hate against MPs is "out of control". The Deputy Prime Minster's comments come after the killing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos: Follow us on Twitter: Like...

Bill Clinton unsteady on his feet as Hilary helps him out of hospital after ‘sepsis UTI battle’.

Bill Clinton unsteady on his feet as Hilary helps him out of hospital after ‘sepsis UTI battle’.

Former US President Bill Clinton has been released from the Southern California hospital where he had been treated for an infection. A frail-looking Bill Clinton was helped out of hospital by his wife yesterday after he was discharged following an...

Live: La Palma volcano tracker as new lava streams destroy homes.

Live: La Palma volcano tracker as new lava streams destroy homes.

A volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on September 19, sending jets of lava and a plume of smoke and ash into the air from the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island. Authorities had begun evacuating the infirm ...

Deadly floods, landslides sweep southern Indian state of Kerala - DW News.

Deadly floods, landslides sweep southern Indian state of Kerala - DW News.

At least 22 people have died and reports say a dozen are missing in southern India after heavy rains caused flash floods and landslides. The Indian Army has sent teams to help the rescue operation in the coastal state of Kerala. Thousands of peopl...

India floods: At least 27 people dead in Kerala

India floods: At least 27 people dead in Kerala

Sky's Neville Lazarus on the developing situation in India where at least 27 people have been reported dead after the southern state of Kerala was hit by flooding. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos: Follow us on Twitter: Like us on ...

Gowdy: The Democrats were proven dead wrong on this.

Gowdy: The Democrats were proven dead wrong on this.

Trey Gowdy slammed Democrats for writing 'obituaries' for the Republican Party during the Obama era on 'Sunday Night in America' #FoxNews #SundayNightInAmerica #Gowdy Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: F...