Uzbekistan to reward citizens who take a daily walk

TASHKENT (Reuters) - Uzbeks who walk 10,000 steps a day for a year will be granted free use of state-owned gyms and a 50% discount on services provided by the government, according to a draft document published on Wednesday.

The draft presidential decree aims to promote fitness and healthy lifestyles and also includes provisions such as holding a car-free day and building street workout facilities across the Central Asian nation of 34 million people.

The government also hopes the health drive will help protect the population from illnesses like COVID-19, although Uzbekistan has reported fewer cases than many other countries, with 53,000 confirmed infections and 444 deaths. It introduced two lockdowns in order to contain its spread.

The decree outlines a programme called “Let’s overcome the pandemic through sports!” and highlights the promotion of sports such as walking, running, cycling, minifootball, badminton, volleyball and streetball.

Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Toby Chopra