Central Asian nation Turkmenistan which has reported zero cases of the novel coronavirus has banned the media from using word “coronavirus.” According to media reports, the word has also been removed from health information brochures distributed in schools, hospitals and workplaces.
Ranked last in the group’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index, the gas-rich autocratic ex-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most closed countries. It also neighbours Iran, which has reported more than 44,000 cases.
Paris-based reporters without borders said people wearing face masks or talking about the coronavirus are liable to be arrested by plainclothes police.
Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ruled the country since 2006 through an all-encompassing personality cult that styles him as Turkmenistan’s “arkadaq,” or protector.
(With inputs with AP)
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