Uzbekistan Delays First Post-Soviet Census Over Virus

Tashkent, Nov 13 (AFP/APP): Uzbekistan has delayed its first census since independence from the Soviet Union over coronavirus concerns, the government said. Uzbekistan last conducted a national census in 1989, when it was still a Soviet republic.

The state statistics committee said Thursday that the census due to be carried out next year would instead take place in 2023.

The delay was necessary “in order to thoroughly prepare and conduct a high-quality census”.

The committee noted that fellow ex-Soviet states Armenia, Russia and Kazakhstan had all delayed their surveys. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev last year signed a law mandating that the national census be held at least once every 10 years. While Uzbekistan regularly updates its national population statistics — 34 million people at last count — the census includes potentially sensitive data about ethnic makeup and religious affiliations.

Uzbekistan has registered nearly 70,000 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic with 594 deaths, although officials have admitted that actual numbers could be significantly higher.

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