Turkmenistan remains an island of stability during the times of economic crisis and pandemic. According to statistics, there is not a single case of COVID-19 infection in the former Soviet republic, tests ate available in abundance. The president of Turkmenistan holds mass events in the country and take part in them himself. However, it transpired that morbidity in the country grows. Sick people are forced to live in barracks where they have no amenities at all, while the number of pneumonia-related deaths in the country grows too. To make matters worse, the authorities of Turkmenistan persecute those who try to comply with basic protective measures. In Turkmenistan, a person can be jailed for wearing a face mask.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov is a doctor by education. During his years in power, he has published nearly 40 works dedicated to health issues, healing properties of water, tea, and even Turkmen melons.
According to Turkmen propaganda, Berdymukhamedov always drives away all misfortunes from the people of Turkmenistan. While other countries of the world were closing borders and putting people in quarantine, the leader of Turkmenistan was propagating recommendations from the field of traditional medicine. In particular, at a government meeting on March 16, he obliged citizens to fumigate their homes, shops and public places with the smoke of harmal plant, which is commonly known as a grave plant.
Immediately afterwards, government offices, schools, kindergartens, universities and retail premises would be fumigated with harmal. Representatives of the Turkmen administration claim that the novel virus has bypassed the republic.
Journalists, doctors, teachers and officials are not allowed to talk about COVID-19 upon pain of immediate dismissal. Broadcasts of all foreign media outlets that may spread the information about the pandemic were suspended. Medical brochures that mention coronavirus were seized and destroyed. People who wear masks and gloves on the street can be fined for disturbing public order. Law enforcers have the right to forcefully deprive people of individual protective means. If the person wears the mask or vinyl gloves in public places again, they may face criminal punishment.
The Healthcare Ministry of Turkmenistan does not report neither cases of coronavirus infection nor pneumonia. All those entering Turkmenistan have to spend the next two weeks living in quarantine. People are accommodated in barracks with multi-tiered beds, standing next to each other.
In general, citizens of Turkmenistan continue leading their habitual lifestyle without any restrictions. They have the right to visit public places, go to work, study at schools and universities. Mass events, concerts, the national football championship continue in the republic as before.
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