United Nations Kazakhstan: COVID-19 Situation Report № 6 (26 June 2020)
A NEW COVID-19 SURGE IN KAZAKHSTAN
NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan celebrated on 21 June the Healthcare Workers Day, on the occasion of which President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev decreed to award the most distinguished medical workers with medals and orders. The UN Country Team has also congratulated the medical workers, noting their outstanding contribution in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.
Over the past three months, the medical workers have faced an unprecedented amount of work under quarantine in their hospitals away from their families to fight the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases is gradually growing in Kazakhstan, despite the restricted lockdown measures and information campaigns. As of 26 June, more than 19 thousand people tested positive for COVID-19, including several highlevel officials – First President Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev, Majilis Speaker Nurlan Nigmatullin, Minister of Healthcare Yelzhan Birtanov. On 25 June, due to deteriorated state of health Yelzhan Birtanov has resigned from the Minister position, Vice-Minister Alexey Tsoi was appointed as the Healthcare Minister of Kazakhstan.
Nur-Sultan and Almaty remain the most affected cities. The cities authorities have announced plans to strengthen the quarantine measures: food and retail markets, as well as the public service centres, operate only until 4 pm; hygiene control of all public spaces, workplaces, and businesses have been conducted. Among the urgent measures are the re-structuring of the existing public facilities as hospitals with around 3500 beds capacity (Halyk Arena, Almaty Arena), opening modular labs, launching the telemedicine apps, hospitalisation of the people only with acute COVID-19 symptoms. The Kazakh government, on its part, has been ensuring the safety purchasing hundreds of thousands of personal protective equipment and vents. So far, 380 vents have been manufactured locally in Kazakhstan. The World Bank has also re-programmed part of the loan funds for USD 27.6 million, which has enabled the Ministry of Health to successfully procure 491 artificial pulmonary vents and 87 kinetic therapy devices.
At the same time, risk communications work is being addressed to fight the misinformation pandemic. More misinformation is being distributed via social media and messengers regarding the self-treatment recipes and approaches. More on emergency health response on page 2.
UN SUPPORTS SAFE RE-OPENING OF SCHOOLS
The widespread closure of educational facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic presented an unprecedented risk to the education and well-being of children, especially the most vulnerable, who rely heavily on schools for their education, health, safety and nutrition. The new UNICEF guidelines provide practical guidance to central and local executive authorities on how to work together to ensure the right of every child to education, health and safety while returning to school. Schools should assess their readiness to open after quarantine and provide an improved and safe learning environment and comprehensive support for children, including health, nutrition, psychosocial support and quality assurance of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. More on socio-economic response on page 2.
UN CALLS FOR EQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WORK DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN
The burden of unpaid care work on many women is increasing due to school closures, aged family members at risk and other consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the quarantine conditions, Kazakhstanis began to spend more time on educating children and caring for older family members than on everyday household chores. According to the Rapid Gender Assessment conducted by UN Women and UNFPA, with regards to the family workload sharing during COVID-19 while providing support and care, in Kazakhstan men were more readily involved to raise and care for children and older family members than in helping with daily domestic tasks. Although women’s time spent on household care has increased (from 18% to 41%), almost every third male respondent said that they started to help children more in learning (32%), as well as spend more leisure time with them (30%) as well as senior family members (30%). More on risk communications on page 3.
Source: relief web