Uzbekistan Coronavirus (COVID-19) 31 March 2020

From a bishop

“On March 15 the first case of coronavirus was recorded in our country. It was a medical woman who came from France. At first, she tried to heal herself, but then she turned to doctors. Upon arrival she gathered 20 people of her relatives to celebrate her return. At that meeting, she infected 13 people. Also, the virus was found in another person who arrived on March 15 on a morning flight from Istanbul to Tashkent. And everyone who arrived on this flight was put in quarantine. On March 16 the law was issued and all those who arrived in the country must be sent to quarantine for 15 days.

“On March 17 all organizations were put on leave. A fine of 25 dollars was imposed for walking on the street without a mask. Everyone started wearing masks. The Religion Affairs Department asked all churches to close their buildings and not hold meetings. March 22 was the first Sunday when churches in Uzbekistan started holding online worship meetings. This law applies not only to Christians, but also to all religious associations and Muslims. March 24 the country has closed roads between the regions. Only trucks and ambulances can move. From March 30 movement by private cars was banned in the cities of Tashkent and Nukus. And everyone should stay at home. For violation there is a fine in the amount of 1100000 sum ($112). Also within 6 days the zone was built on 50 hectares of land for 20 000 people in quarantine. They built from containers. Several hospitals are also being built simultaneously to treat people with the virus. I will send the video to FM. To date, there are officially 158 patients, 7 were cured, 2 died.

“As we hear on TV, government representatives say that food is enough. But the prices of potatoes, meat, onions, tomatoes and other products have risen significantly. For example, potatoes used to cost 2700 sum and became 8000 sum. The meat used to cost 55000 sum and became 75000 sum. Prices for medical masks and antiseptics have also increased. The mask used to cost 600 sum and became 2500-3000 sum. The state has completely abolished sales tax and customs rates on medicines. The customs service and employees of the Prosecutor's office go and check if there is any artificial overestimation of prices for food and medicines. They also ask you to call the helpline if there are any price increases but despite this there are still cases when prices are inflated.

“The state does not put restrictions on agriculture but rather helps. Therefore, we can assume that we will have the harvest. We pray that the Lord will bless us.

The Church was not ready for such an upheaval. But the good news is that many believers have woken up. In this time of quarantine many people began to appreciate fellowship with each other and Sunday worship meetings. It was a little bit difficult to switch to online communication but thank God we have already held several meetings online… 

The Church faces new challenges. One atf the moment is a new experience for the church how to minister and spread the Gospel at this time. We started to see opportunities at this time. At this time people are more open to help than ever. Pastors and ministers began giving masks and antiseptics to non-believers for free. This is mainly in regions where people would prefer better to buy a kilogram or half a kilo of potatoes than to buy a mask. Because in fact, many people in our country work for a day's pay. When the quarantine was announced many people lost their jobs and were left without money. When the Church started distributing masks and food it attracted the attention of the mayor of the city and the prosecutor, so they came to this brother, thanked him and took a picture with him. Through this, not dozen but hundreds of people hear about Christ and immediately see His love and care. Today, even in quarantine, there is a good opportunity to serve each other…

We do not fully understand why all this is happening but we have made a decision to praise Him and serve Him at this time. Many brothers and sisters have said that they see the Lord taking care of them at this time and this inspires us greatly.

“Please, pray for us, our precious brothers and sisters. Amen.”