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Central Asia Warily Monitors Spread Of Coronavirus From Neighboring China


A Kazakh sanitary-epidemiological-service worker uses a thermal scanner to detect travelers from China who may have symptoms possibly connected with the coronavirus at Almaty International Airport on January 21.

As the first month of 2020 came to an end, the new strain of coronavirus that broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 had spread throughout China and cases had been recorded as far away as Japan, the United States, France, Germany, and Australia.

For the governments and people of Central Asia the virus that is spreading through neighboring China is a source of great concern. There are hundreds of Central Asian students at Chinese universities and thousands of Chinese workers in Central Asia.

But as of the end of January 2020, there were no confirmed cases of this new coronavirus in Central Asia. That has not stopped people in Central Asia from worrying, though.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion that looked at what the Central Asian governments are doing to prevent the spread of the virus and how the people of Central Asia are reacting to the potential spread of the virus into their homelands.

From New York University's School of Medicine, Dr. Purvi Parikh joined the discussion. From RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, known locally as Azattyq, Dana Sanseeva, and from RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, known locally as Azattyk, Ainura Asankojoeva explained what was going on in their countries. I had a thing or two to say also.

Majlis Podcast: Central Asia And The Coronavirus
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About Majlis

Each week, hosts Bruce Pannier and Muhammad Tahir welcome a panel of expert guests to discuss significant political developments and pressing social issues affecting the nations of Central Asia.

Click here to check out the latest Majlis podcast, or visit ITunes.

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