Uzbekistan makes masks, remote work mandatory in capital

TASHKENT, March 22 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan ordered all companies in the capital Tashkent on Sunday to switch to remote working and made protective masks mandatory in all major cities in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Central Asia’s most populous nation of 34 million has confirmed 43 cases of the disease and has already closed its borders. All but one cases were registered in Tashkent.

On Sunday, the authorities said all business in Tashkent, except for food and medicine retailers, were to switch to remote work while public transportation in the city of 2.5 million would be shut down.

The government also said those not wearing masks in public in any of the major Uzbek cities would be fined $22 at first and $67 for repeat offences. (Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; writing by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Philippa Fletcher)