Kazakh Health Minister hospitalized with COVID-19
The novel coronavirus was diagnosed among the upper echelon of power in the country – first, Kazakh President’s Spokesperson Berik Uali tested positive for COVID-19 and now Kazakh Health Minister Yelzhan Birtanov confirmed to have contracted coronavirus. He was hospitalized in the infectious diseases hospital. Birtanov made a Facebook publication stating that he is not an asymptomatic coronavirus patient. He said that despite all the strict measures that he followed, there are always risks of contracting the virus.
“Especially, the risks of infections are among those who can’t work remotely. In recent days, there has been an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in a number of regions among the entrepreneurs, employees of enterprises, health workers, as well as public officials and media workers. Currently, many of our citizens are working intensively to deal with the consequences of the global crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic in Kazakhstan. Often we need to have personal meetings and working visits to the regions of the country, so we are more at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus,” Birtanov wrote on his Facebook account.
While being hospitalized, Birtanov is writing the safety recommendations to the Kazakh citizens. He urges everyone to observe the individual quarantine and adhere to basic infection prevention recommendations.
“I urge Kazakh citizens to always practice social distancing when it is possible: at work, in a transport, on the streets, in a store and so on. If you are an office worker, then work remotely, if possible. You can communicate with your relatives and friends online through video calls and new technologies. I urge you to wear protective masks in public places and wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds. I also ask you to use hand sanitizers and to measure your body temperature from time to time, as well as the body temperature of your family members. It is better to use the mercury-containing thermometer. If you feel early symptoms of the novel coronavirus such as weakness, headache, sore throat and fever, you should consult a doctor immediately!” Birtanov noted.
The hospitalization of Birtanov caused a sensation on social media. Those public officials, who were his contacts, decided to self-isolate. Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin is among them. Two days ago, Mamin made a working visit to Zhambyl region with Birtanov to start construction at a new pharmaceutical plant intended to produce medicines and vaccines. Even though his COVID-19 test showed a negative result, Mamin still decided to self-isolate. Birtanov wore a respirator mask at the working meetings in Zhambyl region.
Governor of Zhambyl region Berdibek Saparbayev also decided to go into self-isolation. On June 12, he met with Birtanov and could have contracted COVID-19.
“Governor of Zhambyl region took the coronavirus test before and after the visit. Saparbayev is currently self-isolating, so all of the meetings will be held online,” press office of Zhambyl region said.
Kazakh Minister of Education and Science Askhat Aimagambetov will also be working remotely for the next two weeks. He accompanied Birtanov on his working trip to Zhambyl region. Aimagambetov’s test for COVID-19 came back negative.
“Askhat Aimagambetov is feeling well. However, according to the approved regulations, he will self-isolate and will be working remotely. In addition, according to the protocol, after a certain time he will get tested for the coronavirus again. He will continue to work on schedule through videoconferencing,” Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science informed.