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ASHGABAT: Turkmenistan has suffered no coronavirus cases, the Central Asian country’s autocratic president claimed in a rare foreign interview, Turkmen state media reported Tuesday.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov told Moscow-based broadcaster Mir that “thanks to work (we) have carried out”, Turkmenistan has “yet to discover a case of this disease”, state media said in its report on the interview. Turkmenistan is one of the few countries, along with North Korea, yet to declare a single case of the coronavirus. All the others are Pacific island states.

Despite the zero case boast, Turkmenistan only began relaxing tough restrictions that saw restaurants shuttered and bus and train travel between regions off limits in April, nearly nine months after it imposed them.

The isolated country has still not resumed regular air travel.