June 20, 2020 / 2:41 PM / 21 days ago

UPDATE 1-Kyrgyzstan tightens coronavirus restrictions as new cases rise

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BISHKEK, June 20 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan will shut down public transport in the capital Bishkek and the routes between all of its provinces every weekend, Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov said on Saturday.

The move came as the number of new coronavirus cases in the Central Asian nation rose by 192 and senior officials including the capital’s mayor and a member of parliament tested positive.

“We must ensure the country’s full readiness for a worsening of the epidemiological situation,” Boronov said. “We see daily growth in new COVID-19 cases.”

All members of parliament were being tested and the parliament building closed to visitors after one MP and one staffer caught the virus, the legislature said. Bishkek mayor Aziz Surakmatov self-isolated after a positive test and was working from home, his office said.

The former Soviet republic of 6.5 million people, which now has 2,981 reported cases of the virus, ended a state of emergency accompanied by curfews and lockdowns in May.

Neighbouring Kazakhstan, which has 25,000 confirmed cases, has also introduced new weekend restrictions, saying hospitals in its two major cities were filled almost to capacity.

Kazakhstan has closed all shopping malls, markets and parks in major cities as it fights a second wave of the outbreak which started almost immediately after lifting a lockdown in mid-May. (Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mike Harrison and Giles Elgood)

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