Turkmenistan makes COVID-19 vaccination mandatory

Women wearing protective face masks, used as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), are seen at a bus stop in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan July 13, 2020. Picture taken July 13, 2020. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Sarkisyan

ASHGABAT, July 7 (Reuters) - Turkmenistan's healthcare ministry said on Wednesday it was making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all residents aged 18 and over as the former Soviet region of Central Asia reported a fresh spike in new cases.

Turkmenistan has reported no COVID-19 cases but introduced a number of restrictions such as setting out requirements for wearing facemasks.

Neighbouring Kazakhstan made vaccinations mandatory for a wide range of public and private sector employees last month, following the example of Russia.

Turkmenistan's healthcare ministry said in an announcement published by state media that exceptions would only be made for those with medical contraindications to inoculation. The gas-rich nation has procured vaccines from Russia and China.

Reporting by Marat Gurt; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Edmund Blair

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