The first case of coronavirus registered in Uzbekistan on March 15 at 6:00 in the laboratory of the Institute of Virology, a citizen of Uzbekistan, who returned from France, infected the coronavirus Covid-19. This was reported by the Agency for Sanitary and Epidemiological Well-Being under the Ministry of Health.
After that the government has announced a series of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Officials urged the population not to panic and to pay serious attention to observing personal hygiene rules, to keep living quarters clean, to use hand sanitizers and to wash their hands with soap and water after going out and using public
transport as well. In connection with the coronavirus in Uzbekistan suspended air, rail and road traffic.
Since the announcement of quarantine with reference to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Uzbekistan, Internet providers and mobile operators have provided free access to educational resource websites so that students can freely use video lessons prepared by educational institutions.
It is important to note that Uzbekistan has tested more than 450,000 people throughout the period of pandemia.
The effects of COVID 19 on Uzbekistan
Pandemic and restrictive measures introduced by government have negatively affected for economy of Uzbekistan. As exports reduced, demand for products and services has also reduced, tourism and entertainment sector has also dramatically suffered. GDP growth rate has reduced due to the pandemic and impact of preventive measures as a response to coronavirus. Moreover, we should take into account that transfers from Uzbek citizens who work in Russia has been also decreased which had also negative effect to economy. Another economic shock for Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries was the reduce of oil price by 50%.
In March, 2020, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan approved the Presidential Decree for the creation of an anti-crisis fund with a capital of 10 trillion soums (more than $ 1 billion) to overcome the consequences of COVID-19. Moreover, Uzbekistan has been taking measures to attract external borrowing to finance the state budget and anti-crisis fund. Uzbekistan intends to attract financing of $ 3.1 billion from international financial organizations to support Uzbekistan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central bank of Uzbekistan took necessary actions to provide liquidity to support public and private sector. Interest rate of Central Bank of Uzbekistan has been reduced. It helps to private sector to gain credit with lower interest rate and increases financial sustainability of entrepreneurs after quarantine. Government of Uzbekistan has been transferring financial help for low income families. Additionally, our government has expended social payment coverage for low and medium income families and increased the amount of payment as a social support for citizens.
Land tax and property tax has been cancelled for small and medium sized businesses for three months as one of the most important fiscal policy actions. Interest payment for bank loans for total 19.5 trillion UZS is postponed to October 1st, 2020 in the form of accruals.
As Presidential decree of Government of Uzbekistan states that our country implemented regulations for providing tax holidays and preferences for credit debt. Moreover, financial loans are allocated to industries that most suffered from coronavirus. Entrepreneurs who forced to suspend operations due to a pandemic will receive interest-free loans through banks.
According to CBU, GDP growth in 2020 is expected to be 1.5% and it will increase to 6.5% in 2021.
As of May 26, total coronavirus case in Uzbekistan has reached 3,261. 2,607 of them has recovered. Unfortunately, Uzbekistan has reported 13 deaths. Among them, one is in critical condition and 2 of them in serious conditions.