March 27, 2020 / 5:19 AM / 2 months ago

Uzbekistan reports first coronavirus death as it widens lockdowns

TASHKENT (Reuters) - Uzbekistan reported its first coronavirus death on Friday, as it locked down all of its provinces, having declared large bonuses for medical workers in the battle against infections, which climbed to 83.

A 72-year-old woman in the city of Namangan died of cardiac infarction, the healthcare ministry said, adding that she had suffered from a host of other diseases in addition to the virus.

She appeared to have been infected by her daughter who had travelled to Turkey, it added.

The Interior Ministry said on Friday it was suspending all passenger travel between the 12 provinces and one autonomous republic that make up the nation of 34 million.

The government also barred all citizens from leaving their homes except for work and grocery or medicine shopping and from gathering in numbers greater than three, ordering them to maintain a distance of 2 metres from each other.

Uzbekistan’s lower house of parliament held a video conference session on Friday instead of meeting in person.

The Central Asian nation has already locked down some of its biggest cities, including Namangan and the capital, Tashkent, outside which it has built a quarantine facility housing more than 20,000 beds in modified cargo containers.

Eleven infections were among medical workers, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said late on Thursday, announcing large bonus payments for those working in direct contact with infected people.

Doctors will get $2,500 every two weeks, or several times their normal monthly pay, while nurses and laboratory workers will receive $1,500, junior medical workers $1,000 and others $500, Mirziyoyev said.

Medical workers who get infected while treating virus patients will get $10,000 each.

Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Peter Graff and Toby Davis

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