By H.E. Mr. Dilyor Khakimov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Kingdom of The Netherlands.
In these difficult days, the Republic of Uzbekistan, like the entire international community, takes the most serious challenge to humanity in modern history – the pandemic of the coronavirus COVID-19. At the same time, thanks to the effective anti-epidemic measures taken by the leadership of Uzbekistan in a timely manner, it can be argued that the country is able to minimize the effects of the pandemic.
In Uzbekistan, special attention is paid to such important tasks as the prevention of the spread of coronavirus infection, effective treatment of patients and laboratory tests.
Despite the fact that on April 22 this year 1692 COVID-19 cases detected in Uzbekistan, according to Worldometers (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/) in the number of cases detected per million people, our country has one of the lowest rates in the world (51) – against the global level of 330, and in the number of deaths (7 people) from this dangerous infection per million people – 0.2% against the global level – 22.9%.
This result was largely facilitated by the fact that the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev timely (January 29 this year) adopted an order to create a special republican commission to prepare a program of measures to prevent the importation and spread of a new type of coronavirus in the country, and thereby laid basis for mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the republic.
Subsequently, decisions were made to suspend air, rail and road communication with other states, and to close pre-school, secondary and higher educational institutions. A progressive package of economic measures has been adopted to mitigate the impact of the crisis on relatively vulnerable sectors of the economy. An Anti-Crisis Fund under the Ministry of Finance has been created with an initial volume of 10 trillion soums ($ 1 billion). Business and entrepreneurship entities were granted tax holidays, a number of other tax benefits and deferred loan payments. Social assistance was organized for the most vulnerable groups of the population.
April 1 of this year in Tashkent, Nukus and in all regional centers, a regime of self-isolation of citizens was introduced for a period of 20 days, which was then extended until May 10 of this year.
At that time, when in many countries of the world the issue of the necessity of wearing masks was only discussed, in Uzbekistan on March 23 this year a decision was made to wear medical masks.
To provide the 33 million population of the republic with masks, the government adopted decisions on the mobilization of textile production located on the territory of the republic. As a result of the measures taken, the production of up to 2 million units of masks per day is currently set up in Uzbekistan, and it is planned to bring daily production to 5 million pieces.
But it is obvious that success in combating COVID-19, which has taken on the character of a pandemic, depends on the coordination of regional and international efforts of the countries of the world.
From the very beginning of the pandemic, the President of Uzbekistan held telephone conversations with all the heads of state of Central Asia and Afghanistan. During these negotiations, both the bilateral agenda and the joint response to the threat of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the region and the world as a whole were discussed.
Drawing attention to this fact, the American edition of The Diplomat, in its article entitled “Uzbekistan Leads Central Asian Diplomacy in the Age of COVID-19,” cites the words of Radio Liberty columnist Bruce Panier, who noted that “if there is one the person responsible for actively trying to coordinate efforts in Central Asia, then this is the President of Uzbekistan. ”
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Uzbekistan has provided humanitarian assistance, which includes medical products so urgently needed, to China, Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Hungary, and Russia.
A special place in Uzbekistan’s international efforts in countering the spread of coronavirus was taken by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the extraordinary summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council), which took place on April 10, 2020 in a video conference format.
The head of Uzbekistan made a number of important initiatives at the summit to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Firstly, the President of Uzbekistan proposed creating a permanent system of monitoring, analysis and forecasting of the epidemiological situation within the framework of the Turkic Council. The pandemic we encountered showed that no one is safe from new outbreaks of infectious diseases. One should be prepared for such situations, have well-coordinated tools for anticipation and response, including at the regional and international levels.
Secondly, Uzbekistan proposed to establish joint activities of the ministries of health and leading medical institutions of Turkic-speaking countries to exchange information and experience in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dangerous infectious diseases.
The results of this work will make it possible to quickly study the main characteristics of the disease and methods of its treatment, solve the issues of supplies and production of antiviral protection products, as well as laboratory tools for testing the population. Considering that these actions should be taken immediately, Uzbekistan proposed holding the first video conference with the participation of leading specialized specialists, which is already being prepared and will be held in the near future.
Thirdly, the President of Uzbekistan initiated the establishment of the Ad Hoc Pandemic Coordination Group under the Secretariat of the Turkic Council. This group should establish close working contacts with the national headquarters in our countries for countering the pandemic in order to keep abreast and be able to interact quickly. It was also proposed to create a separate scientific and information resource on the CCTS website.
The resource should not only reliably inform about the situation in our countries. It is important to exchange experience on various methods of communicating to the population the rules of behavior in quarantine, the requirements of disease prevention.
Fourthly, one of the key problems in the current crisis is the uninterrupted supply of the population with necessary food, medicines and medicines.
To solve problems in the field of logistics and transport, practical assistance in the transportation of goods under quarantine and border crossing in a simplified manner, the head of state proposed to create a working group under the leadership of the CCTS under the leadership of ministers of transport.
Fifth, understanding the global nature of the threat that the world is facing, the President of Uzbekistan separately emphasized the need to strengthen international cooperation and support the activities of multilateral organizations. In particular, he advocated further strengthening the status and mandate of the World Health Organization, establishing partnerships of this organization with the CCTS.
It is important to note that all the proposals of the President of Uzbekistan are reflected in the final Declaration of the extraordinary summit of the CCTS.
As President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted in his speech at the Summit of the CCTS: “We all well understand that no state can cope with this terrible pandemic alone. The guidelines for action for us should be the principles of unity, cooperation and mutual assistance. Together we can do a lot. ”