Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Kazakhstan to strengthen nationwide restrictions from July 5 to combat the spread of COVID-19.

  • Alert Begins: 02 Jul 2020 12:50 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 20 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Authorities will tighten restrictive measures nationwide from July 5 as part of efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new measures are in response to a recent surge in case numbers and will last until at least July 19, though they could be extended.

Several nonessential businesses, including covered markets and leisure and beauty facilities, will close, and authorities are reintroducing restrictions on interprovincial travel; groceries and pharmacies will continue to operate. Public transport will run limited services and restricted hours of operation. Interprovincial bus services will be suspended, though domestic flights and rail services will continue. Mass gatherings, including religious services and family events, will be prohibited; groups of more than three people will be prohibited from meeting in public places. People over the age of 65 years will be prohibited from leaving their accommodation except in an emergency. Access to several major cities, including Nur-Sultan and Almaty, remains restricted.

Kazakhstan has resumed international flights to several countries, including Turkey, China, South Korea, Thailand, Georgia, and Japan. The Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development has stated that the resumption of further flights will be carried out in phases to prevent a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases. No further restrictions on international flights are planned at this stage. Kazakhstan's borders remain closed to most foreign nationals; entry is not allowed, except for returning Kazakh citizens, diplomats, and those invited by the government. Officials will hold individuals entering Kazakhstan from abroad for two days for laboratory testing; symptomatic individuals will be hospitalized, while those not displaying symptoms are required to self-isolate for a further 12 days. Kazakh citizens are prohibited from leaving the country.

Kazakhstan has implemented a phased easing of COVID-19 restrictions since it lifted its COVID-19-related state of emergency May 11. Nonessential retail stores occupying floor space of up to 2,000 square meters (21,528 square feet) have been allowed to reopen. Manufacturing, construction, transport, and financial service businesses are permitted to operate, provided employers enforce strict health and hygiene precautions. Public parks, squares, and other outdoor public spaces have also reopened. Residents must wear facemasks and practice social distancing at all times while in public.

Authorities had previously strengthened restrictions in several regions, including Kyzylorda, North Kazakhstan, West Kazakhstan, and Zhambyl, in response to increases in local cases. Authorities could extend or amend restrictive measures - including the imposition of localized quarantine zones - with little warning depending on disease activity in the country.

Check access requirements if traveling to major cities, and minimize movement within any quarantined zones; allow additional time for travel. Reconfirm all flights and business appointments. Follow all official directives. Abide by national health and safety measures. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Prepare for freight delivery disruptions. Consider delaying or detouring goods. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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