Elzhan Birtanov, health minister of Kazakhstan, announces he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Because of the clear symptoms of the illness, he was hospitalized.
«Despite strict sanitary measures I have stuck to, it’s merely impossible to avoid absolutely all risks. Particularly it comes to those who are working and have no opportunity to work remotely. Lately, several regions reported growth in COVID-19 cases mainly among entrepreneurs, company employees, medical workers, public servants and people from media. Many of our citizens work hard to solve various troubles that emerged as consequences of the global crisis and pandemic here in Kazakhstan. Often we are forced to meet people personally, visit various regions of our country, so the risk to be infected by COVID-19 is greater for us,» Birtanov wrote on Facebook.
Earlier, the head of the Kazakhstani health system said that after quarantine measures were lifted in May, the second wave of coronavirus has begun. According to Birtanov, it’s highly important to find the right balance between measures aimed to prevent coronavirus from spreading and steps that can help to soften the quarantine safely. All these new rules should be introduced in daily life very carefully.
The fist coronavirus case was reported in Kazakhstan on March 13. Three days later the president declared a state of emergency. On March 19, the two largest cities, Nur-Sultan and Almaty, were put under quarantine. Since then the president extended the state of emergency twice on April 14 and April 27. This regime was lifted by the president’s edict on May 11. However, Kazakhstani authorities alert that the risk of infection is still in place in some regions. Therefore, quarantine measures should be lifted very cautiously if the situation with the disease in certain regions is going to improve.
Elzhan Birtanov is the head of Kazakhstani Ministry of Health since January 25, 2017.