Or a minimum of, that is what the central Asian nation’s secretive, authoritarian authorities claims.
But 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 enjoying down the specter of the lethal virus in a bid to take care of his public picture.
Turkmen mentioned he has verified all of the recorded deaths with well being data and X-rays, revealing extreme lung harm and medical therapy in step with coronavirus victims.
“Instead of accepting it and cooperating with the international community, Turkmenistan decided to stick its head in the sand,” mentioned Turkmen.
The Turkmenistan authorities didn’t reply to Source’s requests for remark.
How it unfolded
As Covid-19 unfold around the globe at the beginning of 2020, Turkmenistan insisted it had no instances, whilst bordering nations reported skyrocketing outbreaks.
“You look at what’s happening at other countries in the region and how different could Turkmenistan possibly be?” mentioned Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“It was at least 40 degrees Celsius outside (104 degrees Fahrenheit) — not a usual flu season,” he mentioned.
By then, the state of affairs was uncontrolled, in response to Turkmen. The authorities suggested residents to take weird public well being measures, resembling consuming a selected sort of spicy soup.
As just lately as Tuesday, President Berdymukhamedov mentioned the efforts of the worldwide group in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic have been “insufficient,” though he didn’t point out the state of affairs inside his personal nation.
“The pandemic has exposed serious systemic failings in the international response to this challenge,” he mentioned.
‘Turkmenistan is burning’
Despite Berdymukhamedov’s claims that his nation his Covid-free, the fact inside Turkmenistan is starkly completely different, in response to impartial journalists and activists.
Diana Serebryannik, director of Europe-based exiles group Rights and Freedoms of Turkmenistan Citizens, mentioned her group had heard from contacts within the nation that hospitals there are at present struggling to take care of the inflow of instances.
Serebryannik mentioned Turkmen docs from her group who have been now dwelling abroad have been in contact with their former colleagues within the nation, permitting them to seek out out the true state of affairs and supply recommendation.
She mentioned docs inside Turkmenistan had informed her each oxygen and ventilators have been laborious to come back by within the nation, therapy was costly and deaths from the virus could possibly be within the hundreds.
“Turkmenistan is burning, it’s burning with Covid … Sometimes they do not even accept patients to the hospital, they just send them home,” she mentioned.
According to Serebryannik, the official explanation for demise in these instances will not be listed as Covid-19 and even pneumonia — as a substitute medical certificates file a separate situation, resembling a coronary heart assault, she mentioned.
The journal of Asian Affairs mentioned Uchkun died on July 7. His official explanation for demise was coronary heart failure.
Undermining the rosy image
Multiple authoritarian governments around the globe have introduced their Covid-19 outbreaks and obtained worldwide help, together with China, the earliest nation affected.
So why is Turkmenistan so insistent that it has nonetheless not seen a single case?
Both Turkmen and Serebryannik mentioned 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 individuals — a minimum of in precept.
Serebryannik mentioned Berdymukhamedov, 64, wished to look like a savior to the nation, and a powerful world chief, by conserving Covid-19 out.
“Turkmenistan is a country where everything in the garden looks rosy … you have those marble, state of the art (health facilities) equipped with German, French, Japanese, whatever, equipment,” journalist Turkmen mentioned.
Admitting the presence of a lethal virus would undermine the idealized picture the President has created and depart Berdymukhamedov open to criticism — and probably to being held to account.
“It would be someone’s failure, someone would have to bear responsibility for that and who has the ultimate word for that? The President,” Turkmen mentioned.
There has been 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 mentioned she believed the federal government must ultimately.
She mentioned there had simply been “too much death.”
Human Rights Watch’s Denber mentioned worldwide organizations interacting with Turkmenistan, together with WHO, had an obligation to be sincere with the world in regards to the state of affairs contained in the nation.
“At a certain point you have to say at what cost are you protecting that presence (in the country)? Are the measures you’re taking to protect your relationship … undermining your core mission?” she mentioned.
Denber mentioned in a worldwide pandemic, with many outbreaks linked throughout worldwide borders, nations had an obligation to supply correct testing and proper public info.
“We’re all interconnected,” she mentioned. “When one of us fails, we all fail.”