Restrictions related to emergence of Omicron variant to be introduced in Kazakhstan

At the government session chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, the sanitary and epidemiological situation in the country was considered. First Vice Minister of Healthcare Marat Shoranov reported on the stability of the sanitary and epidemiological situation in Kazakhstan.

More than 261 million cases of CVI have been registered in the world, more than 300 thousand cases are recorded per day. More than 5 million people have died. There is an upward trend in morbidity in the WHO European Region.

In the republic, 971,541 cases of coronavirus infection with a positive PCR test and 82,550 cases with a negative PCR test were registered, more than 95% of patients recovered. The reproductive number is 0.91, and compared to August, there is a decrease of 1.2 times.

As the First Vice Minister of Healthcare Marat Shoranov said, today the North Kazakhstan region remains in the red zone. Five regions are in the yellow zone (Karaganda, Kostanay, Akmola, Pavlodar and the city of Nur-Sultan). The Republic of Kazakhstan and the remaining 11 regions are in the green zone.

“In general, in Kazakhstan over the past month, the incidence has decreased by 2.8 times, the number of inpatients by 1.5 times, outpatients — by 2 times. In the republic, since Aug. 1, there has been a decrease in the employment rate of infectious beds from 56 to 29%, intensive care beds from 45 to 23%. There are more than 30 thousand beds in the reserve,” Shoranov informed.

There is a positive trend towards a decrease in the number of those continuing treatment; over the past three months, the number of patients has decreased by 4.2 times. Vaccination of the population against CVI continues.

“Over 8.7 million people received the first component, coverage of the subject adult population was 76.6% or 46.2% of the population, the second component vaccinated more than 8 million people with coverage of 70.8% of the subject adult population or 42.7 % of the population,” said the first vice minister of healthcare.

Kazakhstan received 645 thousand doses of Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine. To date, 62,707 adolescents and 17,015 pregnant and lactating women have been vaccinated. Vaccine supplies continue on a weekly basis.

“Since Nov. 22, revaccination of the population has begun in the republic, at the first stage, revaccination will cover vulnerable groups of the population (health workers, teachers, personnel and contingent of local self-government and negative result for antibodies against CVI. In the second stage: persons who completed the vaccination with two doses. As of today, 9,412 people have been vaccinated,” Shoranov informed.

According to the first vice minister, given the emergence of the Omicron variant, in order to prevent its import into the republic, the Interdepartmental Commission decided to introduce from Dec. 3, 2021, the following measures:

  1. Restrict the entry into Kazakhstan of foreign citizens from Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, Eswatini, Tanzania and Hong Kong.
  2. Require a mandatory PCR test regardless of vaccination for persons arriving from countries where cases of CVI caused by the Omicron variant have been detected: today it is Israel, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Australia, Canada.
  3. Persons arriving from countries where cases of CVI caused by Omicron are detected, regardless of the result of the PCR test, must self-isolate for 7 days (home quarantine).
  4. Taking into account the passenger traffic with Egypt (more than 13 thousand people in November) and the detection in Belgium of a case of KVI caused by Omicron in a person who arrived from Egypt, to suspend air traffic with Egypt.
  5. Continue sequencing of the coronavirus infection strains circulating in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In turn, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yeraly Tugzhanov noted that the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus is causing concern in many countries of the world.

A number of European countries, Singapore and Israel have adopted severe restrictive measures (in Israel, flights are limited, European countries have introduced a 14-day quarantine isolation of persons arriving from countries where Omicron has been identified).

According to preliminary data from the World Health Organization, the new strain is more dangerous than the Delta version and spreads faster.

“Therefore, we ask you to support measures aimed at preventing the penetration of a new strain into the territory of our country. The proposed restrictive measures were considered and approved at a meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission,” Tugzhanov said.

At the same time, this year the frequency of the spread of seasonal influenza and acute respiratory viruses has increased 1.4 times compared to 2019.

“Considering this and the situation in the world, we ask all akims to strengthen control over the implementation of sanitary requirements. First, explanatory work on the observance of social distance and mask regime in public places should be strengthened. At the same time, it is necessary to activate the work of the monitoring groups. Second, it is important to strengthen information work on obtaining a vaccine against coronavirus and a call for revaccination. Favorable conditions must be provided for citizens to receive the vaccine. Third, akimats need to conduct a daily analysis of the level of spread of infection in the region,” Tugzhanov summed up.

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