Uzbekistan restricts entry to capital after COVID-19 cases jump

MOSCOW, June 25 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan will limit entry into the capital city of Tashkent and curtail the activity of hospitality venues after a surge in COVID-19 cases, the health ministry said on Friday.

The country of 34 million people was registering around 100-150 cases a day last month but as of June 24 the number had reached 476, the highest this year.

The government said this week it believed the more contagious Delta variant of the virus was already present.

According to the decision of the state coronavirus task force, restrictions will be imposed on entry to Tashkent from neighboring regions by cars and buses "in the absence of an urgent need."

All entertainment facilities throughout the country, including restaurants, nightclubs, karaoke bars, billiard and computer rooms, and catering facilities will only be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be allowed to work at no more than half of their capacity.

The new restrictions will run from June 28 to July 12.

Health authorities also said they would start vaccinating all people over the age of 18; previously only people aged over 50 and those belonging to at-risk groups were vaccinated.

The former Soviet republic has so far received 4.5 million doses of a vaccine produced by China's Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical - which requires three shots - as well as 660,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 240,000 doses of Sputnik V.

Uzbekistan has registered a total of 108,184 COVID-19 cases and 725 deaths since pandemic began. (Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Toby Chopra)

06/25/2021 12:17

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