Ashyq App Gives Hope to Businesses to Reopen

NUR-SULTAN – Since the outbreak of coronavirus last year in March, businesses in Kazakhstan have been reeling from the consequences, but the recent launch of the Ashyq system seems to have given hope to businesses for reopening. The system now includes 6,800 businesses, while another 600 are still waiting to join the system. 

Aside from allowing businesses to reopen, the app is meant to minimize the spread of coronavirus infection. Photo credit: atameken.kz

The app was initially designed to allow spas, fitness centers, and cinemas to resume their work, but now the system comprises many other businesses as well, including cafes and restaurants, computer clubs, bowling clubs, theaters, and concert halls. The system also enables businesses to have extended working hours.

Citizens must fill in their national identification number to use the app. Integrated with the data from the Ministry of Health, the app shows a person’s status ranging from green and blue when movement is not restricted to yellow (contacted with infected people) and red (positive PCR test).

Foreign nationals should use their passport number to check their status in the system. 

The system, which was at first met with public criticism, was tested in January in Kazakhstan’s major cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty, and Karaganda, and starting April 26, the project expanded nationwide.

Starting May 12, Nur-Sultan’s international airport joined the system and the Almaty international airport followed the step from May 21. 

From May 31, the airports of Shymkent and Turkistan will join the project and airports of Aktau and Kostanai from June 7. 

“The first thing I would like to note is that the service has recently become the property of the state. Yesterday, we signed documents with its developer Vitaly Pustovoytenko and the app is now under the jurisdiction of the National Information Technologies company (state information technology company). There is no need to worry about personal data because all Ashyq servers are in the contour of the state server center,” Kazakh Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Bagdat Mussin wrote on his Facebook account. 

Since the launch of the app, it reported nearly 2,500 citizens with red status (COVID-19 positive) and 2,000 with yellow status (contacts with infected patients).

“It is important to understand that thanks to Ashyq, hundreds of businesses in the country have resumed their work, thousands of people got a chance to go back to work and support their families.  Businesses have not closed, and the country’s economy depends on its success,” wrote Mussin. 

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