I urge everyone to take vaccine as soon as possible - Head of State

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I urge everyone to take vaccine as soon as possible - Head of State

I urge everyone to take vaccine as soon as possible - Head of State

Photo by the press service of RK President

The Head of State held a meeting on epidemiological situation with coronavirus infection in the country, Kazpravda.kz reports with reference to the press service of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted the difficult epidemiological situation in the country. The situation is causing concern for the entire society. Citizens are dissatisfied with the work of the executive bodies.

"Kazakhstan, like many other countries, is going through another outbreak of coronavirus infection. Evidence suggests that it is largely caused by new mutated strains of the virus. The situation is aggravated by general fatigue and decreasing alertness on the part of the population, including on the part of business," - said the President.

The Head of State is convinced that vaccination is the only reliable solution in the fight against coronavirus. This is proven by the example of countries that have thought out in advance a strategy for getting out of lockdowns. Now their economies and the daily lives of citizens are practically free of pandemic stress. In Israel and the UAE, the leading countries in vaccination, even such sectors sensitive to the pandemic as tourism, trade, restaurant business, and small and medium-sized businesses have resumed. The People's Republic of China has achieved the greatest success in the fight against COVID-19. High mobilization capacity and rapid response to the pandemic threat have enabled China to effectively resist infection.

"We need to take into account the positive experience of China in the fight against the pandemic and organization of vaccinations. And in general, we need to understand that China is a long-term strategic partner of Kazakhstan, cooperation with this country, the second economy in the world, is beneficial for our country and is fully consistent with national interests of our state," the Head of State noted.

To date, about 47 thousand people have completed the immunization course. 137,346 citizens received the first component. The reason for this situation is simple - it is a shortage of vaccines.

“I have given instructions to conclude preliminary contracts for the purchase of vaccines since June last year. All this time, the Government has assured that the agreements on Sputnik V and the production of the domestic vaccine will fully meet the country's needs for vaccination. Based on this information I announced a mass vaccination, starting from February 1. After two months, less than 0.1% of the population was vaccinated! Now I have to negotiate with the heads of other states on additional supplies of vaccine. We are forced to agree to unfavorable commercial and financial conditions to accelerate supplies", - Kassym-Jomart Tokayev criticized the procurement of vaccines.

In addition, the issues of transportation, storage, and the process of vaccination itself have not been resolved. As supplies increase in the regions, there may be a shortage of warehouse capacity for storage and volumes of freezers in polyclinics. There is evidence that the purchase of the required number of syringes has not been made taking into account the increase in the volume of vaccines.

"The delay in vaccination is not an abstract problem, but a matter of national importance. We are talking about national security. This is additional morbidity and mortality of our citizens. These are lost business revenues, lost taxes to the budget, a general decline in national wealth. Therefore, control over this work should be very strict. Alexey Vladimirovich, earlier I told you that at this period the Minister of Health is a key figure in the Government, you have special powers. During April, you must reverse the situation. Otherwise, a personnel decision will be made that will greatly disappoint you. This applies not only to the Minister of Health, but also to the Government as a whole," the Head of State said.

Work on immunization of the population should be accompanied by active, competent information and educational work. It is necessary to involve the professional community, social activists, all citizens - supporters of mass vaccination. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev considers active position of domestic business in this matter extremely important. Explanatory, motivational work with employees and their family members is required.

"I urge everyone to take the vaccine as soon as possible. This is taking care of yourself, your elders and loved ones. It is our civic duty," the President stressed.

According to the Head of State, the experience and resources acquired during the year of the pandemic should help to get out of the situation with minimal restrictions and costs for the economy.

"In Almaty alone, about 50 thousand enterprises, which employ more than 250 thousand people, were closed. Restrictions and subsequent raids do not bring the expected results; they become a cause of social tension. Businessmen began to complain about the work of monitoring groups, it sometimes has a selective, non-transparent nature - some establishments are checked constantly, others are not checked at all. The emphasis should be placed on systemic, malicious violators of the regime," Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pointed out.

The President believes that a call center should function under the prosecutor's office, where complaints of violations during raids can be received. The interdepartmental commission, together with akims, should normalize the work of monitoring groups.

Last year, a number of unprecedented anti-crisis measures were taken to support small and medium-sized businesses. These are tax breaks, concessional lending and other types of support. At the same time, some types of business continue to remain under quarantine bans and restrictions.

"I ask the Government to work out the following promptly. First, the introduction of a deferral for the payment of certain taxes and payments for SMEs in the affected industries. Second, the suspension of enforced collection of tax and customs debts. These measures should be in effect temporarily until the start of a truly mass vaccination and the removal of most restrictions. The Agency on regulation and development of the financial market and the National Bank are instructed to work out the possibility of deferring payments on loans to SMEs in the affected sectors of the economy," said the Head of State.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev believes that if the Government can change the situation with the pandemic for the better by mass vaccination already in April, then from the beginning of May it is possible to start lifting restrictions from the activities of SMEs. Much will depend on how successful the vaccination of citizens will be, especially those involved in small and medium-sized businesses.

The use of digital solutions will preserve the mobility of the population under quarantine restrictions. At the same time, scaling the ASHYQ project is not only a business task. The government will have to ensure the expansion and active introduction of the system. As another digital solution, it was instructed to work out the introduction of "heat maps", which, based on the data of mobile operators, will allow identifying large groups of citizens at business facilities.

"I instructed to take exhaustive measures to prevent the import of mutated strains into the country, in particular, to strictly require a negative PCR result to enter the country. However, these instructions have not been fulfilled. Since February, there has been a twofold increase in the number of air passengers without the results of PCR studies. In November 2020, the share of people arriving in Kazakhstan without PCR certificates was 7.3%, now it is 27%! As a result, the presence of all three mutated strains with a higher contagiousness was confirmed in the country," the President said.

Currently, the overall increase in infections is accompanied by an increase in the number of patients in severe and extremely serious conditions, as well as an increase in deaths. At the same time, a shortage of medicines and medical devices and equipment is recorded. On average, intensive care units are equipped by only 64% of the required standards.

"We may face an overburden on the healthcare system. We already feel the first signs of such an overburden. I instruct the Government and regional akims to take measures to equip intensive care units and secure the personal responsibility of chief doctors and deputy akims", - said the Head of State.

"We have changed the management of SK-Pharmacy. Right now the moment has come, which will show the capabilities of the new management. Otherwise, there will be dismissals. I instruct the Ministry of Health to ensure strict control over the quality and sufficient volumes of personal protective equipment for doctors," Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.

The Head of State asked the akim of the Zhambyl region about the timing of the commissioning of the plant for production of the Kazakh vaccine and expressed his intention to visit the enterprise.

"The vaccine filling line will be commissioned in August-September 2021. And from that moment the plant will start producing the vaccine," Berdibek Saparbayev replied.

In conclusion, the President called on his fellow citizens to take a responsible approach to the issue of vaccination, not to believe speculations. It is important to understand that both health and material well-being of all Kazakhstanis depend on the success of mass vaccination.

Deputy Prime Minister Yeraly Tugzhanov, Minister of Health Alexei Tsoi, Chairman of the Board of Atameken NCE Abylai Myrzakhmetov, akim of Nur-Sultan Altay Kulginov, akim of Almaty Bakytzhan Sagintayev, akim of West Kazakhstan region Gali Iskaliev also spoke at the meeting.

21:16, 1 April 2021

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