“He said his lungs were burning.” Turkish diplomat’s widow talks about her husband’s death from COVID-19 in Turkmenistan
On January 28, Malikniyaz Hojaniyazov and his wife Hesel Amanova died of COVID-19 within hours of each other, after 48 years together. Malikniyaz Hojaniyazov had been director of the Salgym mountaineering club and a well known explorer, while Hesel Amanova had worked at different times for the state statistics bodies and the Union of Women of Turkmenistan. Hojaniyazov was 64 and Amanova 65. They were buried on January 29.
Sources close to the family told turkmen.news that the couple had carefully followed the quarantine measures since spring last year when the first wave of coronavirus swept Turkmenistan. They already realized how dangerous this new illness was. Soon after attending a wake for Hesel Amanova’s brother, the husband and wife fell ill with coronavirus. Hesel Amanova was taken to Choganly infectious diseases hospital. She was initially in a general ward, but around January 25 she was taken to intensive care.
Malikniyaz Hojaniyazov received treatment at home for a long time. At first he had damage to just 15 per cent of his lungs, but on January 23 he had a stroke. He was at home alone. When the doctor came to give him injections and he didn’t open the door, they got into the apartment through a window and found Malikniyaz in a bad way. He was taken straight to intensive care in Ashgabat’s Niyazov hospital. On January 26 Malikniyaz regained consciousness and began to breathe through a ventilator. But on January 28 his wife Hesel Amanova died in the infectious diseases hospital and a few hours later he passed away too.
“The family have no complaints about the doctors in either hospital. On the contrary, they are very grateful to the doctors for doing all they could,” the source said. “Almost all the medicine, apart from some minor things, were provided free of charge and they were treated according to tried and tested methods. All the patients received the same attention. The state pays for all medicines now and conditions are much better. I think that in Malikniyaz Hojaniyazov’s case, treatment at home proved fatal. I would like to appeal to all your site’s readers: if you are sick, don’t think of getting treatment at home, go straight to hospital!”
Relatives were allowed to take the bodies for a funeral ceremony at the entrance to their apartment block, but were told not to open the plastic wrappings.
Together with the members of his club Malikniyaz Hojaniyazov conquered many peaks including Elbrus, Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro, and Aconcagua in Argentina. He raised the flag of Turkmenistan on each of them. He loved his country and was proud to call himself a son of Turkmenistan.
Turkmen.news expresses its heartfelt condolences to the couple’s family and friends.
To date turkmen.news has confirmed the deaths from coronavirus of more than 50 citizens of Turkmenistan. There are probably more: it’s very difficult to obtain and verify information from a closed country. The authorities continue to insist that there are no cases of COVID-19 in Turkmenistan. Despite this, they are taking quite tough hygiene measures which they describe as preventive. On January 18, Turkmenistan was the first Central Asian country to register the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V.
On January 28, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov issued an instruction to continue the process of registering the vaccines approved by the WHO. He also heard reports on the construction of two major medical centers. One of them, the International Research and Clinical Center of Physiology, will study “the negative impact of the Aral zone on human health” amongst other things. In summer 2020 when mask-wearing became compulsory in public spaces in Turkmenistan, the authorities put this down to the spread of dust from the Aral Sea. The second center under construction, the International Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Center, is to improve citizens’ health via “the latest techniques in modern medicine without using drugs.”