Society

In photos: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan begin lifting coronavirus restrictions

By Aydar Ashimov and Maksat Osmonaliyev

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Member of a Kyrgyz National Guard honor guard can be seen in protective masks in Bishkek on May 31. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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Passengers are shown on a bus in Bishkek on May 31. Public transport resumed on May 25 in Bishkek. Few passengers are riding, say drivers, who add that workers disinfect buses at the end of every route. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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A passenger uses hand sanitiser aboard a bus in Bishkek on May 31. Both drivers and passengers are required to wear masks. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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A children's carousel sits idle on June 1 (Children's Day) in Bishkek. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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Children play near fountains in Bishkek's central square on June 1. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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A food market can be seen in Bishkek on June 1. Supply disruptions due to the coronavirus have led to an increase in prices. For example, before the quarantine, top-grade flour cost about 1,200-1,250 ($16) KGS per bag. It now costs 1,500-1,700 KGS. ($20-$22).  [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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Seasonal workers harvest strawberries in the Kyrgyz village of Kok-Jar on June 1. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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A worker in Kok-Jar village on June 1 transports boxes of strawberries to a packaging site before suppliers export them to Russia and Kazakhstan. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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A seamstress sews women's pants in Bishkek on June 1. The factory employed 10 seamstresses, but they were furloughed for about two months, according to the owner. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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Street food vendors, including the one seen here in Bishkek on June 1, have begun reopening. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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Customers patronise a sidewalk cafe in Bishkek on June 1. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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The reading room at the K. Bayalinov Republican Library in Bishkek can be seen in this photo taken June 1. Kyrgyzstan's cultural institutions, such as sanatoria, resorts, museums and libraries, reopened on June 1. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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An elderly woman wearing a mask sits outside in Bishkek on June 1. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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Workers at a Bishkek greenhouse weed a patch of roses on June 1. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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Villagers sell calves at the Sokuluk District market on June 7 in Chui Province, Kyrgyzstan. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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A minibus is shown at Bishkek's western bus station June 7. [Maksat Osmonaliyev]

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Locals ride a donkey-drawn cart in Taraz on May 29 after Kazakhstan lifted a ban on public transport. [Aydar Ashimov]

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A woman walks outdoors in Taraz on May 29. Though Kazakhstan has lifted all restrictions on movement, few Kazakhs venture outside. [Aydar Ashimov]

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Customers wait in line near a mobile phone store in Taraz on May 27. It admits a limited number of visitors at a time. [Aydar Ashimov]

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A sign on the window of a grocery store in Taraz, shown May 29, informs visitors that they must wear masks to enter. [Aydar Ashimov]

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A woman checks visitors' temperatures at a city park in Taraz on June 1. [Aydar Ashimov]

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Girls stroll near fountains in Turkistan, Kazakhstan, on June 7. [Aydar Ashimov]

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Worshippers pray at the Arystanbab Mausoleum in Turkistan Province, Kazakhstan, on June 7. [Aydar Ashimov]

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A woman draws water from a sacred well next to the Arystanbab Mausoleum in Turkistan Province, Kazakhstan, on June 7. [Aydar Ashimov]

TARAZ/BISHKEK -- Life for Kazakhs and Kyrgyz citizens is slowly returning to normal as both countries lift some restrictions that were put in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In Kazakhstan, authorities in the beginning of June began to dismantle roadblocks and reopen bus and air transportation between cities.

About 6,000 police officers were deployed to oversee about 400 roadblocks during the quarantine in Kazakhstan, according to the Interior Ministry.

Railway routes in the country are resuming in stages. Currently, more than 90 trains are serving passengers.

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Kazakhs stroll near fountains in Turkistan city on June 7. [Aydar Ashimov]

In a number of provinces, kindergartens, religious institutions, government service centres, bus stations and railway stations, as well as parks and fitness facilities have reopened.

"There are fewer restrictions. We are already working," said Kuralai Akiyeva, a 27-year-old resident of Taraz.

"Soon our children will go to kindergarten again. We are waiting for the time when the threat of the coronavirus is behind us and we return to a full life," she said.

From June 20 to July 5, high-school graduates will undergo Common National Testing at 161 locations in Kazakhstan in compliance with public health and epidemiological requirements.

As before, movie theatres, entertainment centres and nightclubs remain closed. Mass events are still not taking place.

Meanwhile, in Kyrgyzstan, the emergency linked to the СOVID-19 pandemic lasted more than two months.

About 80,000 workers were forced to take unpaid leave or lost their jobs, according to various sources.

Starting May 21, the government began to allow certain types of economic activity, in particular, passport offices and shops that repair furniture, watches and shoes, among other products.

On May 25, outdoor clothing markets and restaurants opened, and public transport resumed.

Despite the softening of the lockdown, doctors in both countries are urging the continuation of precautions and are asking citizens to wear masks and practice social distancing.

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Why are they selling humanitarian aid - masks, paper towels, gloves - at the marketplace?

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