As of 14 April, Tajikistan had not announced the confirmation of any COVID-19 cases. Over recent months, the authorities have taken drastic measures to help keep the coronavirus at bay. The border with China has been closed since 24 January and entry from Iran was halted on 23 February. All commercial flights were suspended on 20 March and traffic to and from Kyrgyzstan was suspended on 24 March. Schools, however, are still open and people are going to work as normal.
To further help avoid a health crisis, some national textile enterprises are diversifying production to include medical masks and gowns. The move will provide much-needed supplies of protective equipment to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Tajikistan.
Two enterprises making this move, Guldaston and Suman, have received assistance from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which has organized training classes to help expand production and meet quality requirements.
In early April, locally recruited UNIDO experts specializing in textile manufacturing and quality standards held master classes on medical mask production for new employees at Guldaston and Suman. The classes provided training on techniques related to the sewing, cutting and manufacturing of masks, and introduced ways to use different textiles available on the local market for mask production.
Both enterprises are partners with UNIDO in an existing project to modernize and improve the competitiveness of country’s carpet weaving, embroidery and textile sectors. A second phase of the project, which is funded by the Russian Federation and implemented in conjunction with the Tajikistan Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, began in 2018.