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Turkmenistan Dismisses US Embassy COVID-19 Alert

Wednesday 24 June 2020

ASHGABAT (Reuters) — Turkmenistan reprimanded the United States embassy on Tuesday over a health alert which cast doubt on official reports of zero COVID-19 cases in the country.

The U.S. embassy said in the alert message posted on its website:

While there are no official reports of positive COVID-19 cases in Turkmenistan, the U.S. Embassy has received reports of local citizens with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 undergoing COVID-19 testing and being placed in quarantine in infectious diseases hospitals for up to fourteen days.

[…]

Private citizens who undergo testing for COVID-19 in Turkmenistan may be sent to involuntary quarantine at a government-selected facility at their own expense with no control over the amenities for an unspecified period of time.

The Turkmen foreign ministry reacted to the U.S. embassy statement, qualifying it as distorting information about measures it has taken against the virus. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan points out the lack of substance and objectivity in this kind of ‘fake news’”, it said, adding that it had already warned the U.S. ambassador against spreading information “not supported by facts”.

However, Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most tightly-controlled countries. Like North Korea, it is unreasonable to take at face value the highly improbable statistics.


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