NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh officials report that the epidemiological situation is generally stable in the country, with some regions witnessing a relative surge in COVID-19 cases. Almaty akim (mayor) Bakytzhan Sagintayev and Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Yeraly Tugzhanov said the coronavirus restrictions will be strengthened in Almaty, as the city witnesses a surge in coronavirus cases.
The meeting was attended by healthcare workers, where they discussed the epidemiological situation in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. As of Dec. 11, the city had 16,816 coronavirus cases.
At least 60 to 80 percent of employees companies and organizations with 15 or more employees will work remotely.
Trade centers and shopping malls will be closed at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and will not be open on Sunday.
Cafes and restaurants can work from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., including those in shopping and entertainment centres, with a capacity of not more than 50 seats.
Public services centres will work from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Almaty has witnessed a surge in coronavirus cases in October, when it registered 366 new cases against 165 cases in September showing a 3.8 times rise. The infection largely spreads among people living under the same roof.
Officials also warn to avoid crowds and mass gatherings as independence and New Year holidays are around the corner.
“We like to spend time with our close family and friends and we want to be with them, especially over holidays. But we ask you to limit contacts to protect your relatives and avoid mass gatherings. We need to avoid mass events. We need to keep in mind that the virus is transmitted through close contact and respiratory droplets. Please, wear masks, wash hands, use hand sanitizers and disinfect premises,” said Bauyrzhan Ospanov, chief doctor at Almaty ambulance station.
Whether the city goes into lockdown depends on people’s compliance with sanitary rules, said Almaty Chief Sanitary Doctor Zhandarbek Bekshin.
“If the epidemiological situation worsens amid mass ignorance of all rules and preventive measures, then we will have to tighten the measures,” said Bekshin.
Currently, the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan and the Pavlodar Region are in the red zone, while Almaty, Kostanay, Akmola, East Kazakhstan, Atyrau and North Kazakhstan are in the yellow zone. Other regions remain in the green zone.
The red zone is where there are more than 50,000 cases for 100,000 of the population, and the yellow zone is where there are from 25,000 to 50,000 cases for 100,000 of the population.