June 30, 2020 / 7:39 AM / 5 days ago

Uzbekistan imposes new restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise again

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks wait in line to enter a grocery store amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tashkent, Uzbekistan April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov/File Photo

TASHKENT (Reuters) - Uzbekistan has imposed an overnight curfew in some parts of the country, including the capital Tashkent, as it seeks to curb a fresh rise in COVID-19 infections following the gradual lifting of a two-month lockdown.

The Central Asian nation had been cautiously lifting a nationwide lockdown that had been in place in April and May. However, after a decline in COVID-19 cases between mid-April and mid-May, it has once again seen a steady rise.

The new restrictions will see residents of “red” and “yellow” areas deemed at higher risk barred from leaving their homes between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. except for medical emergencies, the government said on Tuesday.

Large shopping malls and markets will also be closed on weekends across the country.

Uzbekistan has divided its territory into green, yellow and red zones depending on the rate of fresh COVID-19 cases in those areas. Tashkent is mostly yellow, with some red neighbourhoods which have been cordoned off.

The country of 34 million people has confirmed 8,298 COVID-19 cases, with 24 deaths.

Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Pravin Char

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