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Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter.

The isolationist Central Asian state is one of the last countries still claiming to be coronavirus-free, along with North Korea and some remote Pacific islands.

The government has admitted that a spike in pneumonia probably reflects undiagnosed cases of covid-19.

Kyrgyzstan recently adjusted its statistics to include probable covid-19 cases previously classified as pneumonia, causing the number of infections to double overnight and fatalities to jump almost fivefold.

The children duly trooped out on state television to express their awe and gratitude, all safely protected from dust by spotless face masks.

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