The government of Kazakhstan has always stated that the country cannot become complacent when it comes to dealing with a global crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the country is currently going through a challenging period of the fight against it, the claims that Kazakhstan is one of the countries with the fastest growing rates of COVID-19 are exaggerated and, furthermore: they simply do not correspond to the reality.
Unfortunately, there have been some reports in foreign media, like The New York Times, The Telegraph, Express, France24 and elsewhere, maintaining that Kazakhstan has entered the list of states with the fastest rates of COVID-19 spread, which, again, is absolutely false.
In addition, the publications mistakenly stated about supposedly a repeated introduction of a strict lockdown in Kazakhstan, while in fact the country has announced a two-week-long quarantine measures, which are rather lenient in comparison with the complete lockdowns that the world has seen in some developed countries.
Such a misunderstanding of the situation in Kazakhstan in the international media has not just put the country in a bad spotlight, but, most importantly, the exaggeration of epidemiological risks stemming from COVID-19 in the Republic of Kazakhstan has not been based on the facts that the country’s health authority possesses and shares with international health bodies.
As the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Lithuania, we state hereby responsibly that, in tackling coronavirus, Kazakhstan’s Government is taking all necessary measures to combat the epidemic.
Notably, since the beginning of July, asymptomatic forms of COVID-19 in Kazakhstan are being added to the overall morbidity rate. As a result, the rate of infection growth has also increased significantly in the COVID-19 statistics. Notably, before July, a separate recording of coronavirus cases was carried out.
We however understand well that both forms of the disease –those with symptoms and asymptomatic forms – pose a potential danger to the public.
It is nevertheless clear that the change of methodology has led to a certain increase of COVID-19 cases, as all the cases that were not previously taken into account, were ultimately included in the national statistics. Unfortunately, this led to the misinterpretation of the statistics.
As of July 9, 2020, there were 53 021 cases of COVID-19 in Kazakhstan, i.e. 1 962 cases per day. Notably, there were 34 149 cured patients, i.e. more than half have recovered. Meanwhile, 18 608 continue receiving treatment. Sadly, 264 COVID-19-stricken our citizens died.
In June, the rate of virus replication in Kazakhstan stood at 1.3. Over the last few weeks, there is an observable decrease in this indicator to 1.05.
The global toll of people infected by COVID-19 stood at approximately 11.5 million at some point this week, with the average mortality rate being at 4.6% of the number, i.e. 536 thousand people. In some world powers, like in the United States, COVID-19 has struck 2.9 million people, against 681.2 thousand people in Russia and slightly over 50 thousand people ill with COVID-19 in Kazakhstan.
In comparison, the mortality rate in the USA is 4.4%, 1.5% in Russia, and a mere 0.5% in Kazakhstan. According to the COVID-19 map of Johns Hopkins University, Kazakhstan ranks 32rd by confirmed COVID-19 cases.
To get the COVID-19 situation under a complete control, Kazakhstan is resolvedly carrying out a mass testing programme. In total, 1,631,817 COVID-19 laboratory tests were conducted in the republic, i. e. 8 746 tests per 100 thousand people and the results were the following: 48,874 were tested positive, 1,582,943 – negative.
According to worldometers.info, Kazakhstan today ranks 19th in the world in terms of population testing, the country ranks 54th in terms of the number of infected persons per 1 million people and ranks 113th in the COVID-19-caused mortality. The difference in these indicators shows the effectiveness of measures taken in the country.
Thus, the international statistics demonstrate the continued moderate dynamics of more than satisfactory the epidemiological situation in Kazakhstan. Unfortunately, some of the statistics were omitted by some international outlets.
Fully understanding its responsibility, Kazakhstan has implemented quarantine that will last until July 19.
The restrictions include ban on holding mass gatherings, as well as family events and memorials. The beauty salons, hairdressers, gyms, fitness centers, pools, indoor markets, beaches, water parks, culture facilities, entertainment centers, religious facilities, cinemas, kindergartens, children health camps and other institutions also suspended their activities.
At least 80% of employees of public institutions, offices, national companies and other organizations continue working remotely, however.
It has been also decided to limit the movement of people to walking in groups of three or less. Meanwhile, medical centers, pharmacies, grocery stores, open markets will continue operating during this period.
Open air restaurants, construction and industrial plants with a continuous production cycle, open air agricultural and construction works are continuing to operate under enhanced sanitary and disinfection measures.
Auto services and appliance maintenance are available also during the quarantine in the country.
International air traffic will continue without further expansion of routes and the air travel authorities are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation in other countries where we fly to. However, domestic air flights and train service will be limited as well as the interregional bus services; city buses are suspended for the period of the quarantine, too.
Notably, as soon as COVID-19 cases began to edge upward again in June after a sharp fall, the Government took the necessary measures to combat the pandemic in a timely manner, including implementing a second quarantine.
The results of the first quarantine implemented in the country from mid-March to mid-May demonstrated that quarantine measures were indeed effective. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases remained low during that period. It is expected that the new two-week quarantine will significantly contribute to the stabilisation of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
In addition, three hospitals tasked with tackling infectious diseases were built quickly in the cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent. Meanwhile, clinics in other regions were provided with necessary equipment, like face-masks, disinfectants and et cetera.
As President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted recently, this crisis is a passing phenomenon, and the difficulties are temporary. Kazakhstan has the required medical and economic resources to win against the spread of the virus and return to normalcy, which we wish for all the world countries combatting the contagious virus.