President Tokayev Declared an Extension of State of Emergency in Kazakhstan

All quarantine measures would be in place until May 11

Photo: Askar Akhmetullin

Today Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a second extension of emergency in the country. 

“Given the current situation in our country and based on a proposal by the State Commission and experts, I decided to sign a decree on the extension of the state of emergency until May 11 of this year. This decision is dictated by the current complex reality. In accordance with the law, the state of emergency will be completed on May 11, unless, of course, a new massive outbreak of the epidemic occurs. I hope that this does not happen,” the president said.

Tokayev also signaled “about easing the quarantine regime primarily in regions and cities where the situation with the spread of the virus is under control.”

The list of enterprises that can reopen their regular work will be prepared by the State Commission. In addition, air travel between Nur-Sultan and Almaty will be reopened on May 1.

The state of emergency was declared in Kazakhstan on March 16because of the fast spread of new coronavirus.

Initially, the emergency was set to end on April 15 but against the high rate of COVID-19 cases, the authorities decided to extend the lockdown until the end of the month. 

In the middle of April, the president noted that the country hadnot passed through the peak of the outbreak yet.

“The number of those infected with COVID-19 in Kazakhstan is growing, but not exponentially. This means that the decisions made were timely, but the peak was not passed. I ask citizens to comply with the quarantine. I appreciate the work of doctors, police, military personnel and volunteers. It’s really important to pay attention to their safety,” Tokayev tweeted.

As Berik Uali, an official representative of the president, wrote on Facebook on April 21 that the president’s decision is based on information from the government, the State Emergency Commission and heads of the regions.

Moreover, Uali revealed the plan of the president to address coronavirus issues this week via television broadcasting. He is probably going to talk about the step-by-step reopening of industries and businesses in Nur-Sultan and Almaty, which were the first Kazakhstani regions (17 in total) that were put under lockdown. From April 20 the activity of some sectors including construction, banks, and services was resumed.

As Berik Uali wrote, Tokayev’s address may relate some points to the post-quarantine economy.

“The head of state draws attention to the fact that, in addition to crisis management, we must remember strategic planning. The emergency will sooner or later end, and then we will face the full growth of the tasks of restructuring the economy. 

Therefore, it is necessary to set new goals for the medium and long term. The president has already stated that many programs and concepts need to be updated. The sharp drop in oil prices has confirmed that we need reforms in the economy and the financial sector, real industrialization and digitalization. Big changes await health and education. The head of state requires the development of strategic decisions that meet these new realities,” Uali wrote.

Last Tuesday Elzhan Birtanov, head of the Ministry of Health, suggested that the quarantine would last until the middle or even the end of May because of the danger of further coronavirus spreading. According to the minister, the only way to prevent the outbreak is to minimize social contacts.

“Until people themselves learn to communicate less, the government will have to take measures to further determine the level of restriction in society, until we cope with this danger,” Birtanov said.

Earlier, the head of the Kazakhstani health system predicted that the peak number of infected would reach 3500. For now, there were 2717 cases reported in Kazakhstan, with 682 recovered and 25 dead.

The first case of infection was reported in the country on March 13, 2020. It was a passenger who arrived in Kazakhstan by plane.

According to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Labor and Social Security, more than eight million people applied for the beneficiary (42500 tenge per one person) because they were fired or on unpaid leave.
 

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