Growing number of Chinese nationals in Kazakhstan infected with coronavirus: Chinese Embassy

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/21 23:30:41

A woman receives a swab test at a mobile test site in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, June 16, 2020. Photo:Xinhua

The COVID-19 epidemic situation in Kazakhstan is very serious, and the number of Chinese nationals infected in Kazakhstan continues to increase, according to the Chinese Embassy in that country which warned Chinese nationals there to ensure personal safety.

"Unknown pneumonia" reported in Kazakhstan in early July triggered widespread concerns from netizens on Chinese social media and among Chinese nationals living in Kazakhstan. 

In order to prevent and control COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of Chinese nationals in Kazakhstan, the embassy has been providing updates on its website  on Kazakhstan's fight against COVID-19 every Tuesday and Thursday since March 17.

On July 16, humanitarian medical supplies from China arrived in Atyrau state. A total of 50,000 items, including 1,600 medical protective suits, 3,700 pairs of goggles, 8,200 pairs of disposable gloves, 50 thermometers, 5,700 N95 masks and 29,040 disposable medical masks, were to be distributed to medical institutions in Atyrau state.

To ensure transparency of the statistical data, Kazakhstan said it will merge statistics of both COVID-19 and confirmed cases of other viral pneumonia beginning  August 1. Confirmed pneumonia cases that test negative for the coronavirus but with COVID-19 symptoms will also be counted, Tsyo Alexey, Minister of healthcare of Kazakhstan, announced on Friday.

He said that there were 234,187 cases of pneumonia in Kazakhstan from January 1 to July 15, which is 3.3 times the number from the same period last year. These include bacterial pneumonia caused by various pathogens, viral pneumonia caused by novel pathogens, of which the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19 could not be ruled out.

The number of deaths from pneumonia in the first half of 2020 remained the same with last year, but showed an upward trend at the end of June. The number of deaths from pneumonia from January 1 to July 15 was 3,327, 1.75 times that of the same period last year, according to Tsyo.

Changes to the way statistics are gathered will affect the country's international ranking of infection and fatality rates. After statistics are merged, the government can accurately determine the infection rate, so as to reasonably arrange medical staff, beds, medical equipment, drugs and other resources, he said.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev criticized the government and local authorities for not doing enough to fight the epidemic at an anti-epidemic conference on Saturday. This followed reports that medical workers were selling drugs illegally and the cost of funerals had risen sharply. Some people are taking advantage of the epidemic to make money from the dead, said reports. 

Kazakhstan plans to develop novel coronavirus antibody research on a large scale, according to Committee for Quality Control and Safety of Goods and Services of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan. To improve laboratory testing capacity, the government plans to purchase 1.2 million nucleic acid testing reagents and 20 nucleic acid testing and analysis equipment. Kazakhstan has purchased 696,000 kits worth $7.28 million from China since March, reports show.

Quarantine measures are being extended across Kazakhstan, with different states announcing their own anti-epidemic measures. Public events have been banned and gyms, theaters and museums have closed in some states. Public transportation vehicles are limited to 50 percent capacity or have been banned in some states.

As of 10 pm Tuesday, Kazakhstan had a total of 73,468 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a daily growth rate of 2.3 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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