Uzbekistan’s aggressive coronavirus approach

By - World Healthcare Journal

Uzbekistan’s aggressive coronavirus approach

As part of an ongoing nationwide effort to tackle coronavirus within the nation, Uzbekistan is currently nearing the first stage of completion in an enormous project to build a 10,000-bed medical facility in the nation’s capital.

Over recent years, Uzbekistan has undergone large changes, primarily due to the incumbent President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who has improved relations with Uzbekistan’s neighbours and introduced wide-ranging economic, judicial, and social reforms since he was elected in 2016.

Uzbekistan itself is the geographical and population centre of Central Asia, with more than 32 million living within its borders. As a former Soviet state, Uzbekistan declared its independence in 1991, making it a relatively young country. The majority of the population is urbanized, living in the Fergana Valley - the most fertile and agriculture rich corner of Uzbekistan and Central Asia at large.

However, this poses a problem – as Uzbekistan’s population centres are largely centralized, a large outbreak of Covid-19 could be devastating for the nation. However, an outbreak of such calibre has not yet occurred.

So far, Uzbekistan has experienced relatively low numbers of coronavirus cases, with the latest statistics from the nation reporting that 2,160 citizens have contracted the virus, 1327 have recovered, and 10 have died - promising statistics for a country of such scale.

The low case numbers within the nation are attributed to a self-proclaimed “heavy-handed” lockdown, restricting all travel, mandating the wearing of face masks in public, and employment of state police to enforce curfews and quarantine measures. President Mirziyoyev attempted to move away from the usage of state police and national law enforcement since rising to power, however having such systems in place enabled the nation to enact one of the swiftest and strictest lockdowns in the world. As such, the outbreak in Uzbekistan has been kept under relative control.

And now, a new state-commissioned hospital will further shore up the nation’s healthcare system as part of the current government reform measures, whilst also tackling the coronavirus pandemic in case the outbreak worsens.

At the current time, two new hospital complexes are being built in Tashkent, with the facility designed to treat both coronavirus patients and also serve as a quarantine solution for citizens of Uzbekistan who are returning home from abroad.

Each complex will be able to accommodate 5,000 patients, with both containing 5 separate buildings accommodating up to 1,000 patients each. Due to this method of design, infection between patients with Covid and those without is minimized, as well as decreasing the risk of other hospital-acquired infections.

Currently, more than 4,000 workers are working on the two construction sites. A first unit, intended to house 1,000 people, is scheduled to open imminently, with the remaining buildings set to be completed in early June. The hospital complex will have separate rooms for medical personnel, intensive care beds for patients in serious condition and designated quarantine rooms.

Unlike various temporary field hospitals which have developed as a response to the coronavirus pandemic in other nations, this facility is intended to be a permanent addition to Uzbekistan’s healthcare infrastructure, designed to serve as a specialist infectious diseases hospital after the coronavirus outbreak for the coming decades.

“We are very proud to be involved in this initiative to build such an important medical facility alongside Uzbekistan Railways. Our construction teams are working around the clock to deliver them on time and help stop the further spread of the coronavirus,” says Shokhrukh Sattarov, CEO of Enter Engineering, who are developing the project in partnership with Uzbekistan Railways on a non-commercial, non-profit basis.

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