Armenia has had one of the most severe outbreaks of the coronavirus in the Central Asia and South Caucasus region. Officials have said that the outbreak began at a sewing factory in Yerevan and was also brought over the border by people travelling into Armenia from Iran. PM Nikol Pashinyan has said he may be forced to reintroduce lockdown rules after cases started to rise again.
Azerbaijani officials have imposed one of the harshest lockdowns in the region but the latest data showed the rate of infections of the coronavirus was still increasing. The government had relaxed lockdown rules but has now reimposed a weekend quarantine because cases have started to rise again.
Health experts have praised Georgia for its quick response to the coronavirus outbreak. The government locked the country down early in the outbreak and closed its borders. The lari currency has lost 15% of its value since the start of March and the country’s important tourist industry has stalled. It has said that it wants to reopen its tourist sector to foreign holidaymakers.
Economists have said that the spread of the coronavirus and an oil price crash will push Kazakhstan into a recession in 2020. President Kassym Jomart Tokayev ordered a nationwide lockdown to be reimposed from the beginning of July. Former president Nursultan Nazarbayev tested positive for the coronavirus.
Kyrgyzstan’s coronavirus infections are mainly concentrated in the south of the country where pilgrims are blamed for importing the virus into the country and then for ignoring rules about self-isolation. Kyrgystan was one of the first countries to ask for emergency IMF support.
Tajikistan reported outbreaks of the coronavirus one month after its Central Asian neighbours. Since then cases have risen steadily and the government has had to ask for financial help. Russia is likely to fall into a recession this year because of the pandemic, and a fall in oil prices, and this is bad news for Tajikistan. Tajikistan relies on Russia for remittances to prop up its GDP. With remittances drying up, its GDP growth will be stunted.
Turkmenistan has not reported any cases of the coronavirus and, instead, it celebrated World Health Day with mass bike rides across the country. Even so, the government is preparing the country for an economic knock-on and has imposed some lockdown features across the country.
Like the rest of the region, the Uzbek government locked down its main cities to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Uzbekistan’s government has said that it wanted to borrow $1b from the international market to fund its coronavirus relief budget.