Kazakhstan ramps up action against COVID-19, extends quarantine measure for two weeks

Kazakhstan ramps up action against COVID-19, extends quarantine measure for two weeks

Jul 16, 2020

Nur-Sultan [Kazakhstan], July 16 (ANI): Ramping up its fight against coronavirus, Kazakhstan has taken active measure to combat the spread of the deadly infection including extending restrictive quarantine measures and allocating 150 billion Kazakh tenge (over USD 363 million) to resolve urgent issues related to pandemic.
Kazakhstan has reported over 61,000 cases and 375 fatalities. According to the classification of the Johns Hopkins University (USA), Kazakhstan occupies the 31st position in the world in terms of the prevalence rate of the illness.
Kazakhstan, adapting to the new epidemiological situation, is taking measures to combat the spread of the infection.
On the proposal of the Ministry of Health to further stabilize the epidemiological situation, it was decided to extend the restrictive quarantine measures in the country for another two weeks - from July 20 to August 2.
Furthermore, additional measures have been taken in the field of ensuring public safety during a state of emergency. Particular emphasis is placed on the social support for the population: a ban has been introduced on fines and penalties, the main debt and interest on all loans of the population is suspended, monthly payments are made to people who have lost income due to the state of emergency, free grocery sets are provided for socially vulnerable groups, etc.
The country's government carried out an analysis of the mistakes made during the outbreak and adopted a number of administrative measures, including the change of senior management of the healthcare system.
The former Minister of Health, Elzhan Birtanov, was dismissed from his post, and an experienced Head of Ministry appointed in his place. Moreover, the new Minister of Health, Aleksei Tsoi, is endowed with a special status, and the Ministry itself has been given broader powers for interagency coordination in the field of countering the epidemic.
For example, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has instructed the government to daily provide the Ministry of Health with reports and information on combating the pandemic.
It should be noted that after a short period under the new leadership, the Ministry of Health brought in line with international practice the methodology for counting patients with coronavirus. This led to an increase in the incidence rate, which caused questions and uncertain perceptions of the epidemiological situation both domestically and in international institutions.
But this had to be done in order to avoid confusion and increased distrust of the statistics provided by the Ministry of Health.
The next step for the country is to prepare a package of measures to protect the population from COVID-19 based on the experience of states that are effectively coping with the epidemic and have demonstrated the viability of their medical systems.
The pandemic has exposed a number of problems in the activities of two organizations in the field of the country's health care - SK Pharmacia, a state organization specializing in the distribution of medicines among medical facilities, and the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund. As a result, the heads of these organizations were replaced, and following the instructions of the Head of State, an audit of their financial and economic activities over the past period has been initiated.
The new heads of these structures have specified goals that are classified as national security. In particular, the state authorities have been given the task of creating the necessary reserve of medicines and medical devices, establishing their own production of a wide range of medicines and medical equipment.
For example, in the event of a worsening scenario in terms of the development of a pandemic, it was instructed to purchase additional 4,000 ventilators, of which more than 3,000 are from domestic manufacturers. At the same time, Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development has guaranteed that by August almost 600 ventilators manufactured in Kazakhstan can be ordered by the country's healthcare organizations.
The development of production facilities, the utilization of existing capacities, and the creation of new jobs are important priorities of work during a pandemic. In this regard, the Kazakhstan Government is preparing a whole package of measures to revitalize the national economy and increase entrepreneurial and business activity.
In case of a worst-case scenario in terms of the development of the pandemic, the Government, together with the National Bank, is preparing a plan to support certain sectors of the economy and population.
In addition, in order to ensure budget stability, a task has been set to reduce inefficient spending and search for additional reserves through tax benefits and preferences that are ineffective for the economy. Work will continue to improve investment legislation, especially regarding stability of conditions for strategic investors.
All these measures are aimed at ensuring a successful end to the crisis in the country caused by the coronavirus pandemic and other global and objective challenges of the modern world under the conditions of the predicted worsening growth of the global economy, of which Kazakhstan is a part of. (ANI)