The Kazakh government has announced a quarantine of the East Kazakhstan region from 00:00 (local time ) on Saturday, April 18, due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Per the directives, entry and exit into the region will be restricted and employees will be required to work remotely. Additional checkpoints will also be established on the region's borders with China and Russia, in addition to its internal borders with Pavlodar and Karagandy regions. A number of stores, including flower shops, pawnshops, and stores selling building materials will also be closed.
On Friday, April 10, government officials extended the state of emergency through Thursday, April 30. Under the state of emergency, all foreign nationals are prohibited from entering the country, and Kazakh nationals are also barred from leaving. The government also reserves the right to implement domestic restrictions nationwide. In Almaty and Nur-Sultan, since Saturday, March 28, and Shymkent since Saturday, April 4, individuals have been prohibited from leaving their homes except for essential work or to buy food or medicines.
Kazakhstan's flag carrier Air Astana suspended all passenger flights as of Thursday, April 16, through Thursday, April 30. All domestic flights have been suspended as of Sunday, March 22, while Air Astana and FlyArystan airlines have temporarily suspended all international passenger flights to and from Almaty and Nur-Sultan as of Wednesday, April 1. Affected passengers can receive a refund or rebooking options. For more information, please see this website.
As of April 16, there are 1362 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kazakhstan, including 17 deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.