COVID-19: Kazakh President Threatens To Dismiss Government If Situation Does Not Improve

Central Asia

Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has warned his cabinet that they may be fired if the situation around the coronavirus fails to improve.

“I hope that the situation will improve within two weeks. Otherwise it raises the question: can the government as a whole work in in its current composition?” Toqaev said at the government’s session on July 10 as he criticized government efforts to contain the outbreak in the Central Asian country amid a spike in cases that forced the reintroduction of a two-week partial lockdown.

Toqaev also said that it was necessary to establish a special commission to look into the “mistakes made by officials” and then report back to the president.

“The Health Ministry made a number of serious mistakes. The majority of [regional] governors failed to properly carry out their duties, and the government did not oversee [them] in terms of following strict quarantine regulations,” Toqaev said as he called for investigations into an acute lack of medicines at the country’s pharmacies.

Toqaev said that an additional 150 billion tenges ($363 million) will be allocated to curb the coronavirus outbreak and urged the central bank to lower its inflation target to 8.0-8.5 percent from 9.0-11.0 percent in 2020.

As of July 10, the number of the coronavirus cases in Kazakhstan was reported as 54,747, including 280 deaths, the highest number in Central Asia.

In Kyrgyzstan, Health Minister Sabirjan Abdikarimov was diagnosed with pneumonia and one of his deputies, Nurbolot Usonbaev, tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Their health state is satisfactory, assessed as moderately severe, they are receiving necessary treatments,” ministry official Ainura Akmatova said.

The total number of registered coronavirus cases in the country was reported on July 10 at 9,358, including 122 deaths.

Akmatova added that, since March, 350 people have died in the country from pneumonia.

In Uzbekistan, as of July 10, a second three-week lockdown started to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The government’s special commission on measures to curb the outbreak said earlier in the week that the new lockdown will run until August 1.

The new rules took effect almost a month after the government had eased its original lockdown on June 15.

Uzbekistan’s health authorities said on July 10 that the number of coronavirus cases in the country had reached 11,259, including 47 deaths.

In Tajikistan, health officials said on July 9, the number of coronavirus cases in the country was 6,410, including 54 deaths.

Turkmenistan is the only country in the region that did not officially register any coronavirus cases, but RFE/RL correspondents have reported that local hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients with pneumonia symptoms, some of whom, including medical personnel, have died.

In some parts of the country, so-called quarantine zones have been established, and some industrial facilities are being shut down, RFE/RL correspondents report.

Earlier this week, a long-delayed mission from the World Health Organization arrived in the country to assess the situation and work with Turkmen officials to prevent any spread of the coronavirus in the country.

 

 

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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