As countries of the Central Asia region are undertaking unprecedented measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus — with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan having closed the borders and imposed a ban on all mass events, Turkmenistan is the only country with the most relaxed environment, independent foreign-based news website Chronicles of Turkmenistan reports.
On March 16, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov held a working meeting on preparations for the nation-wide urban beautification campaign and the Novruz celebrations. The state information agency TDH reported that the mayor of Ashgabat and heads of the provinces were instructed to “arrange nation-wide tree planting campaign on the top level and the celebrations of the International Holiday of Novruz”.
According to correspondents of Chronicles of Turkmenistan, mass rehearsals of Novruz celebrations which bring together hundreds of people including teachers, kindergarten educators, employees of cultural and arts organizations are underway in Ashgabat.
The rehearsals, which are timed to coincide with television shootings, are made in the foothill districts and hills of Baýyr in the suburbs of Ashgabat in the background of blossoming trees.
The preparations for the festivities are being held despite the fact that residents congregate in a confined space (to make sure they fit in the television footage), which creates a favorable atmosphere for spreading viruses.
The nation-wide clean-up campaign is scheduled to be held on March 20, during which about 10 million nursery plants are planned to be planted. The vernal equinox will be celebrated in Turkmenistan the next day.
Turkmenistan has so far reported no coronavirus cases in the country.