Uzbekistan announces further easing of coronavirus restrictions

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks wait in line to enter a grocery store amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tashkent, Uzbekistan April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov/File Photo

TASHKENT (Reuters) - Uzbekistan will allow many businesses, including restaurants and cafes, clothing retailers and kindergartens, to reopen on June 15 in the latest easing of its coronavirus restrictions, the government said on Thursday.

Bus routes will also start operating on the same date between some provinces in areas deemed low-risk, it said.

A ban on mass events such as group prayers and concerts, and the operation of nightclubs, colleges, universities and city public transport, will remain in place.

Uzbekistan, which has been divided into “green”, “yellow” and “red” zones depending on the rates of newly detected COVID-19 cases, has already allowed the resumption of domestic tourism and soccer games without spectators, and domestic air flights and train services have resumed.

Central Asia’s most populous nation of 34 million has confirmed 3,874 coronavirus cases and 16 deaths.

Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov, Editing by Timothy Heritage