Tashkent (Agenzia Fides) - Uzbekistan stops in the face of the widespread of Covid-19. In the Central Asian Country there are over 55 cases and still no deaths, but about 20,000 people are currently in quarantine: for this reason, the government has imposed restrictive measures for the whole Country, in addition to the closure of the capital Tashkent, and since March 25, no-one can enter or exit. The Apostolic Administrator of Uzbekistan, the Franciscan Fr. Jerzy Maculewicz report sto Agenzia Fides: "Schools, public transport, factories, activities and non-essential services will be closed for three weeks. There is an obligation to wear a face mask, otherwise heavy penalties will be applied. Even parish activities have had to stop. At the beginning we were asked to limit attendance at mass to a limited number of people, then I had to stop all the celebrations until April 15. This means that we will not be able to celebrate Easter together, but we will keep in touch with the faithful via the web: every day, for example, we publish guidelines for personal prayer on the parish's Facebook page. Our Sisters of Mother Teresa, on the other hand, help us stay in touch with those who do not have an Internet connection".
In this emergency phase, technology also supports ecumenical prayer, in a reality already deeply engaged in the path of interreligious dialogue: "We have created a Telegram channel that unites all the various faiths present here in Uzbekistan. There are many people who ask us religious leaders to join in prayer so that this disease stops spreading. In addition, the press has repeatedly asked us religious representatives to release messages to encourage people to stay at home", explains Fr. Maculewicz.
The Uzbek cities with the most Coronavirus infections are Tashkent and Samarkand, considered to be the country's two international hubs. To respond to the emergency, according to what was reported by the apostolic administrator, the construction of a hospital dedicated exclusively to the care of Covid-19 has been set up.
"On the one hand there is concern about how things could evolve, but on the other we are calm because we know that everything is in the hands of God. This is also why we have invited everyone to join in prayer with Pope Francis and with Catholics around the world", concludes the Franciscan. (LF-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 7/4/2020)