Uzbekistan allows Tajiks stranded on the Kazakh-Uzbek border to cross the border

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Uzbekistan has reportedly allowed Tajiks stranded on the Kazakh-Uzbek border to cross the border and get home. Meanwhile, Tajik foreign ministry asks citizens to refrain from unnecessary trips.

Uzbekistan has allowed Tajiks stranded on the Kazakh-Uzbek border to cross the border and get home, one of those who got stuck at the Qaplanbek-Navoi border crossing told Asia-Plus by phone Monday evening.

“We were allowed to cross the border late in the afternoon,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan asks the citizens of the country to refrain from unnecessarily traveling to the countries temporarily limiting entry in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus

The Foreign Ministry also asked Tajik citizens staying in Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan to apply to Tajik diplomatic missions in case of necessity.

Recall, Radio Liberty reported on March 16 that dozens of Tajiks, including many women and children, are stranded on the Kazakh-Uzbek border as countries close their borders in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

A Tajik man told Radio Liberty on March 16 the group was en route to Tajikistan from Russia, but got stuck in Kazakhstan at the Qaplanbek-Navoi border crossing, which was closed at midnight on March 15-16. According to him, the border guards told them that Uzbekistan only allowed its own citizens to enter the country.

He reportedly put the number of Tajik nationals there at around 200.

Unable to afford plane tickets, the Tajiks opted to travel from Russia to Tajikistan by land -- a journey that takes several days through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The group said they had asked the Tajik Embassy in Kazakhstan for help, but the Tajik diplomats didn't give an immediate reply.

A Tajik diplomat in Kazakhstan told RFE/RL that the embassy was aware of the situation and was looking for measures to help resolve the problem. The diplomat requested anonymity, as he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

Uzbek authorities reported the country’s first confirmed coronavirus infection on March 15 and immediately announced sweeping measures to contain the virus.

On March 16, Uzbek media reported six coronavirus infections in total, with 230 people being kept under quarantine.

Kazakhstan announced a state of emergency on March 15 as the country recorded three new coronavirus infections, bringing its total to nine, according to Radio Liberty.

Tajikistan hasn't reported any confirmed coronavirus infections as of March 17.

SOURCE: ASIA PLUS