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13 mars 2020 | 12h11 UTC

Kazakhstan: Government confirms first cases of COVID-19 March 13 /update 7

Kazakhstan Alerte de sécurité

Health officials confirm first COVID-19 cases in the country March 13; further spread of the virus likely over the near term

TIMEFRAME expected from 13/3/2020, 12h00 until 31/3/2020, 11h59 (Asia/Bishkek). COUNTRY/REGION Kazakhstan

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Event

Healthcare Minister Yelzhan Birtanov has confirmed the first two cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Friday, March 13. The two Kazakh citizens recently arrived from Germany on Monday, March 9, and Thursday, March 12, respectively. Both patients are currently being treated in a specialized hospital in Almaty. Authorities have also quarantined travelers from the March 12 flight and are trying to identify travelers from the March 9 flight.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced on Thursday, March 12, that all public events, including sports events, conferences, and exhibitions, will be canceled from Friday, March 13. To prevent further spread of the virus, spring break for schools will start a week earlier on Monday, March 16, and higher education institutions will switch to distance learning. In addition, strict hygiene measures will be implemented in public areas such as shopping centers, markets, restaurants, stations, and airports. The Kazakh government also reassured the public that there is sufficient supply of food and other necessities.

An entry ban on travelers from Italy, France, Germany, and Spain remains in place as of March 13.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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 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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

 

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