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Turkmenistan is registered as having no Covid cases


It’s a country home to almost 6 million people, so how is it possible it has a tally of Covid cases and deaths currently registered as “0”?

In a pandemic spanning nearly two years, it seems near impossible for any country to have escaped the clutches of the coronavirus.

However the notoriously secretive country of Turkmenistan claims to have avoided the outbreak, according to the official numbers.

The former soviet republic is actually one of five countries that has not yet reported any cases of Covid-19, including North Korea and three remote islands in the Pacific. That’s according to a review of data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and John Hopkins University.

The country’s tally of covid cases and deaths on the WHO website currently registers “0”. Interestingly, it has recorded 41,993 vaccine doses as having been administered.

And rather astounding is the fact it borders Iran, which has one of the world’s largest Covid-19 outbreaks with nearly 5.5 million total cases and 119,000 deaths.

There are claims the zero cases figure is a lie, with Ruslan Myatiev, an exile from Turkmenistan and editor of the Netherlands-based independent news organisation Turkmen News, saying he knows the names of more than 60 people who have died from Covid-19 in the country.

He claims to have verified the names with health records and X-rays.

“Instead of accepting it and co-operating with the international community, Turkmenistan decided to stick its head in the sand,” Mr Myatiev told CNN.

There are also unverified claims of a third wave hitting the country, overwhelming hospitals.

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has slammed reports of the coronavirus in the country as “fake”.

He also told the United Nations on Tuesday that the pandemic shouldn’t be “politicised”.

However, Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch said: “You look at what’s happening at other countries in the region and how different could Turkmenistan possibly be?”

The second-largest state in Central Asia, Turkmentistan has a population of 5.9 million and a repressive government. It is well-known for being difficult to visit, and is well off the radar as a travel destination.

Bordered by Kazakstan to the northeast, the capital of Turkmenistan is Ashgabat (Ashkhabad), which lies near the southern border with Iran. Other borders include with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Amid its vast areas of uninhabitable desert lies some oases.

It has, however, grabbed headlines worldwide for its unique and eerie sights such as the geological anomaly the Door to Hell, a giant burning pit in the Karakum Desert that has spit out angry flames for more than 40 years. It was found by a group of Russian geologists in 1971 — when the ground beneath their drilling equipment collapsed creating the abyss.



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