Kazakhstan’s first President tests COVID-19 positive

Kazakhstan’s first President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has tested positive for COVID-19 and has gone into self-isolation, his office announced on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, the latest coronavirus test carried out on ‘Elbasi’ (leader of the nation) returned a positive result. There is no reason for concern. Nursultan Nazarbayev continues to work remotely,” the office said in a communique.

Nazarbayev, the country’s first president, resigned in March 2019 after 30 years at the helm of the Central Asian nation, which is currently headed by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, but maintains a prominent presence in Kazakh political life as the current leader of the Security Council and president of the Nur Otan ruling party.

To date, Kazakhstan has recorded 15,877 active cases of COVID-19 and 100 deaths from the disease.

The Minister of Health also contracted the coronavirus, as did the Speaker of the Lower House.

The Prime Minister and the heads of Agriculture, Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources, Education and Finance ministries, as well as several heads of local governments are in self-isolation, according to official information published Thursday.

Kazakhstan in mid-March imposed a state of emergency to halt the spread of the coronavirus and lifted it on May 11, when it also gradually began to relax some quarantine measures in light of the epidemiological situation.

Given the increase in the incidence of the coronavirus in several regions, authorities on Thursday decided to tighten restrictive measures over the weekend in several cities, including the capital Nur Sultan and the country’s largest city, Almaty.