NUR-SULTAN – In reaction to the outbreak of coronavirus in Asia, Prime Minister Askar Mamin organised a government meeting Jan. 26 on ways to prevent its spread and take precautionary measures in Kazakhstan.
The following day, Deputy Prime Minister Berdibek Saparbayev chaired the first meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission on Preventing the Emergence and Spread of Coronavirus in Kazakhstan, reported primeminister.kz.
“The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, instructed taking decisive organisational measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus from China to Kazakhstan,” said Mamin.
He directed installing preventive measures, including strengthening border control and limiting traveling to China for business purposes, ensuring those coming from China undergo a medical checkup and temporarily suspending the 72-hour visa-free stay in Kazakhstan for passengers travelling from China, as well as within the Kazakh portion of the Khorgos trade zone between the countries.
Mamin also instructed intensifying work to provide consular and other assistance for Kazakhs citizens living in China, cooperating with Chinese agencies to prevent the spread of the virus and, if necessary, providing emergency evacuation of Kazakh citizens from Wuhan. As a third step, he called for creating an interdepartmental commission chaired by Saparbayev and tasked with preparing an action plan to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Kazakhstan.
For the first meeting, Saparbayev gathered the heads of the Healthcare, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, Education and Science, Finance, Industry and Infrastructure Development, Culture and Sports and Information and Social Development ministries; National Security Committee Border Guard Service and deputy akims (governors/mayors) of the Aktobe, Almaty, East Kazakhstan and Mangystau regions, the city of Almaty and the capital.
“In China, more than 2,700 cases of coronavirus have been reported and 80 people have died. Fifty cases of infection have already been registered in the world. In accordance with the instructions of the head of state, the government has taken protective measures and developed an appropriate action plan,” he said at that meeting referring to the available data on the spread of the virus at that moment.
Saparbayev noted medical examinations are in place at the Kazakh-Chinese border for ongoing coronavirus control. Hospitals are also prepared should the virus spread in Kazakhstan.
“About 20,000 people were examined at checkpoints across the border with China. All of them are being monitored and will be registered for 14 days. We will also keep track of all newcomers. Trainings were conducted, a call centre was opened and reserve hospitals for quarantine with 4,780 beds were prepared. Calculations are being made on the additional needs of medical devices and preparations,” he added.
Despite the lack of reported cases so far, all governmental bodies must be prepared to execute the action plan, said Saparbayev.
“All responsible government bodies need to ensure effective interaction and rigorous implementation of the action plan. To date, no cases have been reported in Kazakhstan, but we must be prepared to respond quickly if necessary. The Ministry of Healthcare and local executive bodies need to provide additional forces and equipment, including personal protective equipment,” he added.