NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan has decided to extend its coronavirus quarantine through mid-August and only consider easing the restrictions afterward, said Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev July 29, reported Akorda press service.
The decision, which was announced during a meeting with Prime Minister Askar Mamin and Healthcare Minister Alexey Tsoy that focused on the epidemiological situation, is meant to safeguard what has been achieved over a one-month quarantine and maintain the positive dynamics.
As of July 30, Kazakhstan has reported 87,664 COVID-19 cases and 793 deaths.
Kazakhstan declared its second lockdown July 5 to address the soaring number of coronavirus cases after it eased its first stringent lockdown, which was in effect between March and May. The restrictions that were supposed to end July 19, were then extended until Aug. 2 and they will be extended yet again.
During the meeting, Mamin reported that the number of COVID-19 cases fell by 29 percent since July 5, while the daily number of cases is currently between 1,500 and 1,600, which, according to Tsoy, is a positive indicator.
Mamin assured the government that he is carefully monitoring coronavirus morbidity and mortality, the availability and quality of medical care, the continued testing for COVID-19 and the provision of medicines and equipment for intensive care units.
Tsoy, who presented the plan to ease the restrictions during a government meeting a day earlier, said his ministry is monitoring the basic reproductive number (R0 pronounced as R-naught), which refers to the average number of people infected from one person with COVID-19 before isolation and the occupancy rate of hospital beds for coronavirus patients.
In three weeks, the R0 went down from 1.2 to 0.99, while the bed occupancy rate decreased from 90 percent to 47 percent. Despite this, the lockdown was extended.