Kazakhstan News: “Infodemia” on Coronavirus pandemic creating misconceptions in Kazakhstan

New Delhi: Each state has its own conditions, social environment, economy and, accordingly, the ability to combat the epidemic. Some countries were able to overcome the epidemic relatively quickly, while some are still in crisis. COVID-19 has had a different impact on the development of countries and their plans. The vested interests in sections of foreign media has further complicated the situation.

Central Asia’s biggest & resource rich Kazakhstan and close partner for India, like all countries of the world, is going through its difficult period and does not hide its challenges, officials told ET. Incorrect reporting in foreign media particularly the Chinese media has created misconceptions about the situation in Kazakhstan. In many ways Kazakhstan sets bench mark for Central Asia and therefore vested interests in media creates an incorrect perception.

As in all countries of the world, the national healthcare system of Kazakhstan is undergoing a severe test. Just like in the whole world, there are human losses in Kazakhstan. All this naturally impacts the morale of the population, which, it must be acknowledged, officials noted.

Doctors, hospitals, public infrastructure, a medicine distribution system, and everything else are now operating to their limits and are under tremendous pressure, officials said.

In addition to the epidemic, Kazakhstan has confronted panic, provoked by an overload of various information and a wave of incorrect assessments in foreign media. This led to a certain misunderstanding of the real situation in Kazakhstan. The so-called infodemia around the coronavirus, which the WHO warned about earlier this year, jumped the gun and exaggerated the risks in the minds of the population.

Currently, more than 61,000 cases have been recorded in the country, of which 375 have been fatal. According to the classification of Johns Hopkins University, Kazakhstan has the 31st position in the world in terms of the prevalence rate of the illness ( In these conditions, Kazakhstan is adapting to the changes in the epidemiological situation.

On July 10, at an expanded meeting of the Government, the President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, summed up the results of the work carried out to counter the epidemic and set out new tasks. In his statement, the President directly answered all the resonant questions that concern the Kazakhstani society, and set the Government clear tasks for the new period of battle with COVID-19. The President publicly criticized the mistakes and shortcomings in the work of a number of central government bodies and local authorities in the regions of Kazakhstan.

The government has also replaced the senior management in the healthcare system. A new experienced Head of the Ministry of Health has been appointed, and the state body has been given broader powers for interagency coordination in the field of combating the epidemic. The new leadership of the Ministry of Health has changed the methodology for counting the patients infected with coronavirus, officials said.

Currently a group of several dozen doctors from Russia is working in the country, who are sharing their experience in treating coronavirus with Kazakh counterparts.

Tokayev instructed to change the leadership of two organizations responsible for the distribution of medicines and public access to medical services.

In particular, there has been a change of leadership in the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund, which must provide the population with equal access to health services. The leadership of SK Pharmacia, a state organization that distributes medicines in all regions of the country, has also changed. The new leadership has the task of ensuring an uninterrupted supply of necessary medicines.

It is planned to additionally purchase more than 4,000 ventilators in case of the worst-case scenario of the development of coronavirus. More than 3,000 units will be purchased from domestic manufacturers. According to the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan, starting in August, industrial production of ventilators will be established, and the first batch of 595 units will go to healthcare organizations.

The country is preparing a package of measures to stimulate the national economy in a downturn in business activity. The Government and the National Bank are developing an action plan to support sectors of the economy and the population in the event of a likely worsening of the situation.

Overall, the first stage of the global pandemic in March-May, under the conditions of a complete lockdown, passed generally unnoticed and without noticeable losses in Kazakhstan. Seemingly, that period consolidated the perception of Kazakhstan as a country where the risk of COVID-19 is minimal.

However, there is no single recipe in the world for how to respond to COVID-19 without loss. Each state is coping with the epidemic based on its capabilities. Today, Kazakhstan is working on mistakes, adapting to new trends and building a new strategy for its actions to protect the population.


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