AS KAZAKHSTAN PASSED THE COVID-19 PEAK LOCKDOWN MEASURES LIFTED
NUR-SULTAN – On 3 August Kazakhstan has passed the peak of COVID-19 infection, said Kazakh Healthcare Minister Alexey Tsoy. The basic reproductive number, or R0, which refers to the average number of people infected from a single case, has declined by 24% – down from 1.2 to 0.89. Due to the improved epidemiological situation, 9 out of 16 infectious disease hospitals in Nur-Sultan have been closed. Since 1 August in Kazakhstan started to count pneumonia cases with COVID-19 symptoms, but with a negative COVID-19 test, in its coronavirus statistics, though the coronavirus2020.kz national website still shows the statistics separately. The number of COVID-19 pneumonia cases registered before 1 August was not included in statistics. Meanwhile the officials denied the fake news regarding widespread cases of Kawasaki syndrome among COVID-19 affected children. On 17-18 August WHO, UNICEF and the Ministry of Healthcare conducted discussions on the cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children in Kazakhstan.
The quarantine regime has been lifted starting from 17 August while strict weekend restrictions remain: shopping malls and religious institutions are closed, public transport operating hours are limited during the weekends. In its July 30 decree, the Ministry of Healthcare made wearing masks mandatory, except for children under five years old, doing sports and for medical reasons. Those violating the new rules may face a fine of up to KZT 83,500 (USD 200).
As reported, Kazakhstan in preparation for the next COVID-19 outbreak in autumn planning the construction of 13 hospitals with 2700 beds, more than 10 mln packs of medicines delivered to pharmacies of the country, the single distributor provided medical organizations of the country with one month's supply of medicines, and till 30 September it will form additional two-month supply for KZT 24 bln. The Republican Stabilization Fund and 11 regional stabilization funds have been established based on SK Pharmacy.
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EDUCATION DURING COVID-19 AND BEYOND
The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents. Considering that many schoolchildren will start the school year in the online format due to COVID pandemic, it is necessary to pay attention to children with special educational needs and their participation in the educational process. On 13 August, UNICEF contributed to the August conference of the education system professionals with the presentation on the role and tools of the Psychological, Medical and Pedagogical Commission (PMPK) in establishing links with schools to promote inclusion in education and early intervention services. UNESCO organized an online training on "Mainstreaming Education for sustainable development using distance learning technologies and tools" to support around 60 teachers from teacher-training institutes and pedagogical universities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
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PROVIDING MATERNAL HEALTH SERVICES DURING COVID-19
The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to find innovative solutions to ensure that access to these essential services is not disrupted and that families continue to receive the breastfeeding counselling they need. To support the communication campaign UN agencies have provided extensive information support: UNFPA prepared and distributed around 55 thousand copies of leaflets on how to protect pregnant and breastfeeding women from COVID-19. UNFPA also organized four webinars for health service providers on a number of topics related to antenatal care and on the International Classification of Coding (ICD) for maternal deaths in the context of COVID-19. UNICEF marked the World Breastfeeding Week with article Breastfeeding safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and various communication materials on this topic.
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