Kazakhstan to ban Mass new year celebrations, sporting events until January 5

Alamty, Dec 20 (Sputnik) – Kazakhstan will introduce tighter coronavirus-related measures starting from Friday, including a ban on mass New Year celebrations, corporate parties and sporting events up until January 5, the government said on Sunday. “[The government orders] that a ban on the holding of entertainment, sports and other public events, including New Year’s parties and corporate celebrations be established from December 25, 2020, to January 5, 2021,” the government said in a statement, issued after a meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission chaired by Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin.

The minister noted that the epidemiological situation in Kazakhstan was overall under control, adding that only 28 percent of hospital beds were currently occupied. During the meeting, the commission also decided to reduce the prices of COVID-19 medicines by an average of 24 percent as well as partially return schoolchildren and students to classrooms. “In order to ensure the quality of education, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Education and Science, as well as taking into account the public opinion, it was decided to provide combined education (70 percent of subjects in a traditional format, 30 percent remotely) for grades 9, 11, 12 in the third quarter of the academic year in compliance with sanitary and epidemiological requirements,” the statement read. It was also decided to resume combined education for college and university freshmen. According to the Kazakh Health Ministry, the country has so far recorded 146,584 cases of coronavirus and 2,186 related deaths. Earlier this month, the presidential press service said that mass vaccination of the Kazakh residents would start in early 2021. High-risk groups, including doctors, teachers and law enforcement agents, will be the first to have access to the vaccine. Meanwhile, phase 3 clinical trials of QazCovid-in, a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Kazakhstan, are expected to last until the end of April 2021.