Report in October 2021

Covid-19 in Uzbekistan: Outbreak, Control and Prevention

Jasurbek Yulchiyev,
Assistant Professor, Samarkand Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Uzbekistan

Covid-19 virus in Uzbekistan was first confirmed on March 15, 2020, in a woman citizen of Uzbekistan, on a flight from Paris to Tashkent. On the next day, March 16, 2020 quarantine was announced throughout the whole country. All schools and kindergartens, universities and organizations began to operate online. Current status of the disease in Uzbekistan as of October 17, 2021, showed the total number of registered coronavirus infections in Uzbekistan at 181,312 (https://coronavirus.uz/ru). Of these, the current incidence active cases are 372 persons, including 6 with pneumonia, the total number of deaths from the disease is 1,290 people, and the number of new deaths is 3, while the number of people who had recovered from the disease is 177,213 (Figure 1).

The Republican Operational Headquarters for Disease Prevention under the Ministry of Health and all the other relevant government agencies took all the necessary disease prevention measures to combat the disease as required by the World Health Organization.

Measures were taken to strengthen control over the entry and exit of citizens at the state borders, airports, railway stations, transportation hubs, as well as the implementation of quarantine measures by the state for 14 days, restriction on walking in public places and also on public events (https://global-monitoring.com/gm/page/events/epidemic-0002017.cdvPDkTx0wi4.html?lang=en).

At the same time, the population was shown instructions on how to fight the disease in the media, on television and social networks, explanatory work, videos on treatment and prevention, and more of the related contents.

In order to prevent a sharp rise in prices during the pandemic, despite that the Antimonopoly Department and other organizations provided the necessary foodstuffs, medicines and sanitary ware in the markets, it still resulted in artificial price increases and food shortages.

At the same time, an “Iron Book” was formed to help the homeless, the elderly and the needy, and the problems were studied and solved individually in each district, village and mahalla.

From the day the quarantine rules went into effect, everyone was banned from going outside unless absolutely necessary, going out for food and medicine only. Ban on the gathering of more than 3 people in places, and imposing administrative penalties on those who went out without a mask were carried out (https://uzbekistan.travel/en/o/covid-19-in-uzbekistan/)

Intercity flights, trains and cars movement were suspended. The movement of all types of vehicles, private cars was restricted, and only special state cars, vehicles with "stickers" were allowed to be on the road.

At the entrances to each organization, special disinfection tunnels, simple and thermal methods to measure people's body temperature were used. In the early days of quarantine, an increase in demand for masks was observed for some time.

The process of PCR testing was organized mainly on the basis of the World Health Organization guidelines for the diagnosis of the disease. All processes were carried out free of charge at the expense of the state budget funds. In the early stages of the pandemic, mainly the Chinese virus strain and then the British strain spread predominantly (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/uzbekistan/coronavirus).

The first vaccination program in Uzbekistan was established in March 2021. Today, the following vaccines are used for injection into the population of the country.

Vaccines used in Uzbekistan

  • Sputnik V vaccine
  • Vaccine BioNTech, Pfizer
  • Vaccine Oxford, AstraZeneca
  • RBD-Dimer vaccine
  • Moderna vaccine

Currently, Uzbekistan has used 23.8 million doses of vaccine, and the number of fully vaccinated population is 5.69 million, that is, 16.6% of the total polulation had been given two doses (https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations?country=OWID_WRL). The vaccination program is free in the country, and the first vaccines are given to people at high risk of contracting the disease, including health workers, teachers, police, and later to other members of the population.

In the context of the pandemic, the existing shortcomings in the education system began to be felt in a timely manner. This is because the opportunities for online education in Uzbekistan were very low.

In this regard, the Ministry of Public Education organized screen lessons on television in order to provide education in rural areas where access to the Internet is difficult.

Later, online platforms for school students began to work (https://www.unicef.org/uzbekistan/en/assesing-distance-learning).

In the higher education system, too, the process has been difficult. Initially, it became more difficult for students and teachers to communicate with each other. Later, online learning platforms began their work in the higher education system. The use of audio and video lessons, zoom and other platforms was organized. This process is constantly being improved and the digital education system is being fully introduced (https://www.usaid.gov/uzbekistan/program-updates/aug-2021-teaching-during-pandemic).

The pandemic has become one of the biggest factors that has completely changed people’s lives. Most importantly, people have developed such qualities as saving, helping the needy, valuing every second of time and respecting other’s work. The work of my veterinary medical staff was praised by the public. However, as a result of the pandemic, many people lost their loved ones, people lost contact with each other, problems began to arise in families, and depression in people had increased (https://review.uz/en/post/infografika-ekonomicheskie-i-socialne-posledstviya-covid-19-v-uzbekistane).

Figure 1. Dynamics of Covid-19 cases (waves) in Uzbekistan.
Figure 2. Vaccination profile of the population in Uzbekistan; those receiving one dose and two doses
Figure 3. Vaccinating process
Figure 4. Veterinarian working to maintain the pet animal health during the pandemic lockdown is also considered as essential service for the public.