- Title: Central Asia struggles with resurgent coronavirus after reopening
- Date: 8th July 2020
- Summary: BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN (JULY 7, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF KYRGYZ FLAG WAVING PEOPLE, MEDICAL STAFF OUTSIDE DAY PATIENT FACILITY MEDICAL WORKER HANDING OUT BOTTLES OF WATER PEOPLE CARRYING MAN WITH THEIR ARMS MAN ESCORTING WOMAN TO DAY PATIENT FACILITY WOMAN TAKING A SEAT WOMAN IN MASK ON BENCH BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN (JULY 8, 2020) (REUTERS) DOCTOR AT BISHKEK FAMILY MEDICINE CENTER NO. 6 Â BAKTYGUL ZHUMAGULOVA IN FRONT OF CAMERAMEN (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DOCTOR AT BISHKEK FAMILY MEDICINE CENTER NO. 6, BAKTYGUL ZHUMAGULOVA, SAYING: "About 300-500 people arrive per day (to a day patient facility). 127 patients have already arrived today, two of them hospitalized in serious condition to the hospital number 6. Why are there so many patients and the situation is becoming so difficult? Because of the lack of awareness among patients, the information was not provided to the public. And the quarantine regime was cancelled too early, so the epidemiological regime has been violated. And patients were mainly self-curing." BADGE ON DOCTOR'S PROTECTIVE SUIT (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DOCTOR AT BISHKEK FAMILY MEDICINE CENTER NO. 6, BAKTYGUL ZHUMAGULOVA, SAYING: "If we do not have enough nurses, we must quickly train volunteers who have the necessary skills to conduct these manipulations (injections), at least intramuscularly and intravenously. It is impossible to get out of the situation differently. Our medical workers are already sick, many of them are on sick leave." MEDICAL WORKER SAYING HELLO WITH A FIST BUMP TO VOLUNTEERS VOLUNTEER GETTING FOOD SUPPLIES OUT OF CAR (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) VOLUNTEER, DAMIR AKIROV, SAYING: "Since July 2 we have been on duty here, taking care of the social order. Hard times reveal our people when the trouble has come - the people united. Now the doctors are on duty at our forefront, people are coming, well done, the volunteers have just arrived and brought supplies. Work is in progress." BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN (JULY 7, 2020) (REUTERS) PEOPLE NEAR ENTRANCE TO FACILITY, MEDICAL WORKER ASKING TO KEEP SOCIAL DISTANCE MEDICAL WORKER DRINKING WATER VARIOUS OF PEOPLE OUTSIDE DAY PATIENT FACILITY, COUGH HEARD OFF CAMERA VARIOUS OF BANNER READING (Russian): "EMERGENCY CENTER", (English): "COVID-19 STOP"
- Embargoed: 22nd July 2020 14:13
- Keywords: COVID-19 cases Healthcare Kyrgyzstan coronavirus lockdown pandemic reopening
- Location: BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN
- City: BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN
- Country: Kyrgyzstan
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLY8RPJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A man in his 60s, distraught and tearful, cries "I don't know what to do now" as medical staff in protective gear carry the body of his dead wife out of a former bakery converted into a makeshift clinic in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian nations are struggling with a surge in COVID-19 cases which is now testing their healthcare systems to breaking point after they relaxed tough lockdown restrictions in May.
Uzbekistan, the region's most populous nation, said on Wednesday it would impose a second lockdown from July 10 to Aug. 1, with the closure of all non-food shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, parks and entertainment venues.
Neighboring Kazakhstan also imposed a second lockdown from July 5, citing a jump in COVID-19 cases.
Authorities in the region, located between Russia and China, are converting sports arenas, hotels and other venues into temporary hospitals and mobilizing interns, fresh graduates and even doctors who were struck off due to criminal convictions.
The former bakery is also not properly equipped to handle severe COVID-19 cases but patients can visit to get intravenous drips, preferably using medicines they have bought themselves.
It is also one of few places where Bishkek residents can see a doctor at all as hospitals are full.
Such makeshift facilities exist largely thanks to donations from businessmen and volunteers who raise funds and organize supplies of food, protective gear, medicines and ventilators through social networks and messenger apps.
Kyrgyzstan, with a population of 6.5 million, saw a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections in June and has now confirmed 8,486 cases with 112 deaths.
Many ordinary Kyrgyz do not bother with tests. Akzhol, a 40-year-old unemployed economist, said he developed COVID-19 symptoms such as the loss of smell after attending a funeral of his friend's mother who died from pneumonia two weeks ago.
The Kyrgyz government considered the idea of re-imposing a state of emergency but decided against it.
Kazakhstan, an oil-exporting nation of 19 million people, reimposed its second, albeit softer, lockdown this week after its number of COVID-19 cases more than tripled in June.
Kazakh authorities have introduced rationing of high-demand medicines such as popular anti-fever drug paracetamol and are cracking down on its illegal trade which they say has flourished amid widespread shortages.
Kazakhstan has confirmed more than 51,000 COVID-19 cases with 264 deaths and also reported that hospitals are full in some major cities.
Uzbekistan, with 34 million people, has confirmed almost 11,000 cases and only 40 deaths, but more than half of those fatalities occurred within the last two weeks.
Khabibulla Okilov, a member of the Uzbek state COVID-19 task force, said on Wednesday: "It would not be an exaggeration to say the resources of the healthcare system are exhausted."
(Production: Marlis Myrzakul Uulu, Anastasia Adasheva)
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