March 27, 2020 / 5:12 AM / 6 days ago

CORRECTED (OFFICIAL)-Uzbekistan widens lockdowns, boosts doctors' pay to fight coronavirus

(Corrects deceased patient’s sex in 2nd paragraph as per updated healthcare ministry statement)

TASHKENT, March 27 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan locked down more cities and districts on Friday, and announced large bonus payments for medical workers, in its effort to slow the spread of a coronavirus, as it reported the country’s first death and the number of cases climbed to 83.

A 72-year old woman in the city of Namangan died on Friday morning, having suffered from a host of other diseases in addition to the coronavirus, the healthcare ministry said.

Municipal authorities in the province of Navoi, home to large gold- and uranium-mining companies and chemical plants, said they were locking down the cities of Navoi and Zarafshan, as well as several districts.

Authorities in the major tourism hub of Bukhara also said the city would close its borders.

The central Asian nation has already locked down some of its biggest cities, including the capital, Tashkent.

Eleven infections were among medical workers, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said late on Thursday, announcing large bonus payments for those working in direct contact with the infected.

Doctors will get $2,500 every two weeks, or several times their normal monthly pay, while nurses and laboratory workers will receive $1,500, junior medical workers $1,000 and others $500, Mirziyoyev said.

Medical workers who get infected while treating coronavirus patients will get $10,000 each. (Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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