Chronicles of Turkmenistan reports that there are no people except guards and staff in the quarantine zone and the specially-designated department of Turkmenabat’s infectious diseases hospital, where citizens who had arrived in Turkmenistan from other countries and locals who might potentially test positive for COVID-19 were placed.

The majority of them were reportedly released home to be looked after by healthcare practitioners and a few more were admitted to a specially equipped section of the psychiatric care hospital in Garzshsyzlyk etrap.

Medical doctors, paramedics and nursing staff did a training course devoted to the prevention of the pandemic, diagnostics and COVID-19 treatment.  State-of-the art medical equipment and personal protective equipment for healthcare practitioners were supplied to the city.

“I have never seen such equipment, coveralls, plastic masks which were delivered to us.  The equipment was unpacked and installed but we were prevented from accessing personal protective equipment until further notice,” one of the doctors told Chronicles of Turkmenistan.

New mattresses, pillows and bed sheets remain unpacked.  It appears that they will be used shortly before the arrival of the WHO mission.

At the same time, hospital employees are expecting staff redundancies.  The regional office of Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Healthcare and Medical Industry made a decision to make 2 people redundant in each department of a medical institution in the region.  Specialists with the professional experience of less than seven years were recommended to be dismissed.

In order to avoid conflicts and discontent chief physicians of some hospitals said that staff will draw lots to identify those to be made redundant. Officials from the regional Healthcare Ministry office said that “when the global economic situation improves, those healthcare practitioners who face termination will be the first to be hired.”

Recall, Radio Liberty reported on April 28 that authorities in Turkmenistan are clearing out hundreds of people held in quarantine zones in what could be an attempt to hide suspected cases of coronavirus ahead of a visit by World Health Organization (WHO) experts.

More than 400 people placed in a quarantine area on the outskirts of Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan’s second-largest city, located in the eastern Lebab region, are being transferred to small provincial hospitals and a psychiatric clinic.

The move reportedly followed media reports alleging that top authorities decided to temporarily transfer the sick from quarantine sites to hide coronavirus cases from a WHO team arriving in the country next week.

Turkmenistan has not reported any registered COVID-19 cases yet, but experts are skeptical, given the lack of transparency and independent media in the country.