Kyrgyzstan sees jump in virus cases after restrictions lifted

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Kyrgyzstan reported a significant rise in coronavirus cases on Monday, less than a month after the Central Asian nation's government lifted restrictions in key cities.

The country is one of several ex-Soviet nations that have seen a rise in cases in recent days, including neighbouring Kazakhstan.

Kyrgyzstan's reported a daily record of 205 new cases on Monday.

The total number of cases has reached 3,356 in Kyrgyzstan, of whom 2,021 patients have recovered, while 40 have died—up from 16 at the beginning of the month.

First Deputy Prime Minister Almazbek Baatyrbekov said Monday that the premises of a former US military base that has already been used to quarantine arrivals in the country could be used to house coronavirus patients as numbers increase.

Baatyrbekov also said the government was selecting a location for a "tent camp, which will be used in case of mass infections," in quotes reported by the Kyrgyz government press service.

Aziz Surakmatov, the mayor of the capital Bishkek, is among the officials that have reported contracting the coronavirus in recent weeks.

Some Kyrgyz on social media have complained of being unable to submit tests despite having coronavirus symptoms.

Maksat Damir uulu wrote on Twitter Monday that his wife had run a temperature for three straight days and that both of them had lost their sense of smell—another commonly reported symptom of the illness.

"The mobile (health) team refuses to come to us and take tests, because our symptoms are not enough. That is how it is," Damir uulu wrote.

Neighbouring Kazakhstan has reported 80 deaths from the coronavirus since the beginning of June—double the number recorded between the announcement of its first cases in mid-March and the end of May.

Kazakhstan had recorded a total of 17,732 coronavirus cases as of Monday, not including 9,809 asymptomatic cases which authorities treat as a separate category.

The oil-rich country announced a significant lifting of lockdown restrictions on May 18, a week before Kyrgyzstan followed suit on May 25.

Other countries in the former Soviet region to record sharp rises in cases in recent weeks include Armenia and Azerbaijan.

© 2020 AFP

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