Kazakhstan Council on International Relations Publishes Report on Kazakhstan’s Response Measures to COVID-19

NUR-SULTAN – The Kazakhstan Council on International Relations released a Feb. 2 analytical report dedicated to Kazakhstan’s response measures to COVID-19 and the implementation of new reforms in 2020, presented by political expert Andrey Chebotarev.

Andrey Chebotarev

Kazakhstan was one of the countries that immediately responded to the COVID-19 outbreak abroad. On Jan. 26, 2020, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev instructed his government to take measures to prevent the penetration of COVID-19 into the country. However, the first COVID-19 cases were registered by March 13. 

The fight against the COVID-19 required the joint efforts of all government agencies in order to timely respond to the pandemic.

Chebotarev noted that Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held 17 meetings devoted to anti-pandemic and anti-crisis measures from March – Dec. 2020, delivered seven statements and addresses to the nation and declared July 13 as the day of national mourning to honor people who died of coronavirus. Most measures to stabilize the situation were taken due to President Tokayev’s personal participation. 

The author said that the activities of the state bodies were focused on ensuring awareness about the situation with the pandemic among the population. 

“The Coronavirus2020.kz website was launched on March 20. The website contains statistical and other relevant information on the spread of coronavirus infection and the measures taken by the government. After consultations between the Kazakh Ministry of Healthcare with the World Health Organization (WHO), it was agreed to combine the data regarding patients with coronavirus infection and pneumonia with signs of COVID-19 from Aug. 1 to increase the level of transparency and objectivity,” reads the report. 

The overall number of briefings and press conferences with government, regional governors and sanitary doctors to cover the epidemiological situation and measures taken also increased from March to Dec. 2020.

The launch of the Stopfake.kz website, which tracks inaccurate information mainly about the pandemic and refutes fake news has also become one of the most important measures implemented by the government. 

Social stability was sufficiently salvaged due to social assistance handed out to various segments of the population. Pensions and social benefits were increased for about 4 million people by mid-December 2020. Social insurance payments were increased by 50 percent on average. 

The government succeeded in achieving a gradual stabilization in the economy and social sector in the second half of 2020 while maintaining certain restrictions. 

The government also managed to restore the stability of the national economy and achieve growth by the end of the year. The volume of the manufacturing industry increased by 3.9 percent. The growth rates of construction and agriculture were 11.2 percent and 5.6 percent respectively.

The implementation of political, administrative, social and economic reforms was of great importance this year. New reforms were announced in 2019 and some reforms were reflected in Tokayev’s state of the nation address “Kazakhstan In A New Reality: Time for Action” delivered on Sept. 1., 2020. 

The electoral season for the Mazhilis (lower house of Kazakh Parliament) elections, scheduled for Jan. 10, 2021, started last year. It was held with strict adherence to new constitutionally established deadlines. 

According to the author, Kazakhstan has successfully overcome challenges related to the COVID-19 epidemic and was sufficiently prepared to respond to possible critical situations associated with the ongoing pandemic by the end of 2020. Now, the level of efficiency and success of this process will depend both on the coordinated work of the state bodies and on the personal responsibility of the people. 

“2020 was marked by the spread of COVID-19 and Kazakhstan’s response to the pandemic. The pandemic led to human losses and negative consequences in the economy and social sectors. At the same time, this period became not only a test for the society and the government, but also a lesson, stimulating them to unite efforts, and respond in a timely manner to critical situations,” concluded the expert. 

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