TASHKENT (Reuters) – Uzbekistan is preparing to open the first part of a 10,000-bed infectious diseases hospital outside the capital Tashkent as it tries to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a project contractor said on Wednesday.

The Central Asian nation of 34 million has confirmed 1,692 cases of the disease and at least 10 deaths and has locked down all provinces.

“The facility is designed both to treat virus-infected residents and to house Uzbekistan citizens returning home from abroad who require quarantine,” said private contractor Enter Engineering which is working on the state-commissioned project together with the state railways company.

Enter Engineering said the hospital’s first unit, intended to house 1,000 people, would open in early May, with the remainder to be completed within a month.

(Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Nick Macfie)