March 24, 2020 / 4:28 AM / 15 days ago

Kyrgyzstan locks down major cities, imposes curfew

FILE PHOTO: A medical official wearing protective gear takes the body temperature of a driver and a passenger, as an additional measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a check point outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov/File Photo

BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in its three biggest cities, including the capital Bishkek, locking them down and imposing a curfew after the number of coronavirus cases in the Central Asian nation more than doubled.

In addition to the cities of Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad, local emergencies were also declared in three provincial districts, the government said.

Residents of the affected areas were instructed to only leave their homes for urgent necessities.

In Bishkek in particular, the measures will include a 2000-0700 curfew, city commandant and deputy interior minister Alik Orozaliyev told an online briefing.

The Central Asian nation bordering China said on Tuesday it has confirmed 42 cases of coronavirus infection, up from just 16 a day earlier.

Also on Tuesday, the Kyrgyz government ordered all of its employees to start working from home.

Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Louise Heavens and Jan Harvey

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