Turkmenistan claims it hasn’t had a single Covid-19 case. Activists say that’s a lie
Or not less than, that is what the central Asian nation’s secretive, authoritarian authorities claims.
However impartial organizations and journalists and activists exterior Turkmenistan say there’s proof the nation is battling a 3rd wave which is overwhelming hospitals and killing dozens of individuals — and warn the President is taking part in down the specter of the lethal virus in a bid to take care of his public picture.
Myatiev stated he has verified all of the recorded deaths with well being information and X-rays, revealing extreme lung harm and medical remedy in step with coronavirus victims.
“As a substitute of accepting it and cooperating with the worldwide neighborhood, Turkmenistan determined to stay its head within the sand,” stated Myatiev.
The Turkmenistan authorities didn’t reply to CNN’s requests for remark.
The way it unfolded
As Covid-19 unfold around the globe at the beginning of 2020, Turkmenistan insisted it had no instances, whilst bordering international locations reported skyrocketing outbreaks.
“You take a look at what’s taking place at different international locations within the area and the way totally different may Turkmenistan presumably be?” stated Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“It was not less than 40 levels Celsius exterior (104 levels Fahrenheit) — not a common flu season,” he stated.
By then, the scenario was uncontrolled, in response to Myatiev. The federal government suggested residents to take weird public well being measures, akin to consuming a selected kind of spicy soup.
As not too long ago as Tuesday, President Berdymukhamedov stated the efforts of the worldwide neighborhood in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic had been “inadequate,” though he didn’t point out the scenario inside his personal nation.
“The pandemic has uncovered critical systemic failings within the worldwide response to this problem,” he stated.
‘Turkmenistan is burning’
Regardless of Berdymukhamedov’s claims that his nation his Covid-free, the fact inside Turkmenistan is starkly totally different, in response to impartial journalists and activists.
Diana Serebryannik, director of Europe-based exiles group Rights and Freedoms of Turkmenistan Residents, stated her group had heard from contacts within the nation that hospitals there are presently struggling to take care of the inflow of instances.
Serebryannik stated Turkmen docs from her group who had been now dwelling abroad had been in contact with their former colleagues within the nation, permitting them to search out out the actual scenario and supply recommendation.
She stated docs inside Turkmenistan had informed her each oxygen and ventilators had been laborious to return by within the nation, remedy was costly and deaths from the virus could possibly be within the 1000’s.
“Turkmenistan is burning, it is burning with Covid … Generally they don’t even settle for sufferers to the hospital, they only ship them dwelling,” she stated.
Based on Serebryannik, the official explanation for demise in these instances isn’t listed as Covid-19 and even pneumonia — as a substitute medical certificates file a separate situation, akin to a coronary heart assault, she stated.
The journal of Asian Affairs stated Uchkun died on July 7. His official explanation for demise was coronary heart failure.
Undermining the rosy image
A number of authoritarian governments around the globe have introduced their Covid-19 outbreaks and acquired worldwide help, together with China, the earliest nation affected.
So why is Turkmenistan so insistent that it has nonetheless not seen a single case?
Each Myatiev and Serebryannik stated it was right down to President Berdymukhamedov who, as a dentist by occupation and former well being minister, had positioned nice emphasis on successfully governing the well-being of his folks — not less than in precept.
Serebryannik stated Berdymukhamedov, 64, needed to seem like a savior to the nation, and a formidable world chief, by protecting Covid-19 out.
“Turkmenistan is a rustic the place all the pieces within the backyard appears rosy … you will have these marble, cutting-edge (well being services) outfitted with German, French, Japanese, no matter, tools,” journalist Myatiev stated.
Admitting the presence of a lethal virus would undermine the idealized picture the President has created and go away Berdymukhamedov open to criticism — and doubtlessly to being held to account.
“It might be somebody’s failure, somebody must bear accountability for that and who has the last word phrase for that? The President,” Myatiev stated.
There was no indication but that Turkmenistan is getting ready to reverse its place and admit to having Covid-19 instances contained in the nation, however Serebryannik stated she believed the federal government must finally.
She stated there had simply been “an excessive amount of demise.”
Human Rights Watch’s Denber stated worldwide organizations interacting with Turkmenistan, together with WHO, had an obligation to be sincere with the world concerning the scenario contained in the nation.
“At a sure level you must say at what price are you defending that presence (within the nation)? Are the measures you take to guard your relationship … undermining your core mission?” she stated.
Denber stated in a world pandemic, with many outbreaks linked throughout worldwide borders, nations had an obligation to offer correct testing and proper public info.
“We’re all interconnected,” she stated. “When considered one of us fails, all of us fail.”