MIGRANTS TRAPPED IN COVID-19 LOCKDOWN RETURNS BACK HOME
UN recognizes and supports measures to contain the spreading of COVID-19 while emphasizing the right of migrants to return. On 3 July, 746 migrants who had been stuck on the Kazakh-Uzbek border were transported by IOM to their home country, Tajikistan, via the territory of Uzbekistan. This operation was made possible thanks to the joint efforts of the authorities of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Moreover, one unaccompanied child received support from UNICEF in returning to home country Uzbekistan. IOM urges all stakeholders, in countries of destination, transit and origin, to explore ways to ensure that stranded migrants have the option to return safely to their countries of origin, all the while taking into full consideration public health measures. During the lockdown period, IOM in Central Asia provided assistance to over 2,300 migrants.
More on socio-economic response on page 2.
SKILLS FOR YOUTH FOR COVID-19 CRISIS RECOVERY
Prior to the current crisis, young people aged 15-24 were three times more likely than adults to be unemployed and often faced a prolonged school-to-work transition period. In post-COVID-19 societies, youngsters will need to be equipped with the skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience in the time of crisis. UNESCO is conducting a one-week of online training sessions for young people, including from the most vulnerable groups, with the experts from various professional fields. In result of seven training sessions from 15 to 22 July, young participants will be equipped with the key skills and competences, which may help them to improve their socio-economic conditions negatively affected by COVID-19 outbreak. UNDP together with the public association "ECOCENTER" launched a project to create jobs for vulnerable youth in Karaganda and Aktobe regions. Young entrepreneurs under the age of 35, who have a sustainable business, got an opportunity to receive grants of up to KZT 3 mln to scale up their capacities and create additional workplaces for 60 youngsters. Moreover, around 80 young people went through in-depth trainings during UNFPA’s Y-Peer Summer camp on the following topics: social media, the concept of healthy choices and responsible safe behaviour, reproductive health and human rights, prevention of STIs, including HIV; contraception; gender awareness and sensitivity, stereotypes, stigma, discrimination; tolerance and prevention of gender violence and victim-blaming.
More on risk communications on page 3.
KAZAKHSTAN REINTRODUCED LOCKDOWN AS COVID-19 CASES REACH NEW HIGH
NUR-SULTAN – The spread of the coronavirus infection has surged rapidly in numbers over the last month. As of 10 July, 54,747 COVID-19 cases and 264 deaths were recorded in the country. The sharp increase in the statistics is due to the new system of aggregating the COVID-19 data, which includes asymptomatic cases, too. Health Minister Alexey Tsoy does not exclude the possibility of extending the second quarantine, which has started on 5 July, based on intermediate results and assessment of the situation.
Meanwhile, the hospitals across the country warn they are at or near their full capacity, and the numbers continue to tick upwards. In his video address to the nation on 8 July, President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev announced the 13 July as National Mourning Day on the victims of COVID-19 and emphasized that “due to the mass non-observance of quarantine measures, systemic mistakes of the former leadership of the Ministry of Health, local executive bodies, we are actually dealing with a second wave of COVID-19, coupled with a sharp increase in pneumonia”.
As reported, KZT 150 billion is allocated for the purchase of medicines, ventilators, incentives for health workers and other urgent measures. Spending of funds will be under special control. The President assured that the number of beds in hospitals to increase by 70% and brought up to 43 thousand. Minister Tsoy stated that up to 35,000 tests will be done daily for people showing COVID-19 symptoms and those who were in contact with COVID-19 patients.
Officials also urged citizens not to rush to take the test or computed tomography in an effort to decrease the load on the healthcare system. A pilot project that provides free virtual consultation with qualified doctors in three medical institutions in Almaty, Nur-Sultan and Shymkent has been launched. The service is regarded as a part of the primary health care (PHC) program and is part of a package of guaranteed volume of free medical care. Moreover, for quick monitoring and information of pharmacy supplies i-teka mobile application is available for users. State authorities also focused on better risk communication and the need to avoid panic in society, fight fake news and disinformation.
More on emergency health response on page 2.