The World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) long-delayed mission has arrived in Turkmenistan, the WHO said in a statement on July 7.
Turkmenistan is the only Central Asian nation that has not officially registered a single coronavirus (COVID-19) case. Independent reports have suggested that the real situation in Turkmenistan shows coronavirus (COVID-19) infections have reached all provinces of the country.
The WHO has been attempting to send a mission to Turkmenistan for over two months to investigate the Turkmen government’s claims that the country does not have a single coronavirus case. The delay was a result of travel restrictions imposed over the pandemic, according to Catherine Smallwood, the mission's leader.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has decided to go on holiday for the duration of the WHO’s visit, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reported.
Smallwood said her group will work with the Turkmen authorities on aspects of coronavirus preparedness and response, including national level co-ordination and control systems, epidemiology and surveillance, infection prevention and control, laboratory services, risk communication and patient management. The mission will be in Turkmenistan for 10 days.
"Turkmenistan managed to establish a national multisectoral COVID-19 task force; approving a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan; and developing COVID-19 guidelines for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Reorganisation of facilities and staff at all levels of the health system is a critical step the government has been taking: this includes repurposing facilities and training healthcare workers," Smallwood said.