Kazakhstan bans New Year parties, events over Covid-19

Kazakhstan bans New Year parties, other events over Covid-19

The new restrictions on the holding of mass gatherings and sports events will enter force on December 25 and last until January 5

Representative Image, Credit: Reuters Photo

Kazakhstan has banned corporate parties and sporting events over the New Year holidays and tightened quarantine measures at a key oil field in a bid to contain the coronavirus, the government said Sunday.

The new restrictions on the holding of mass gatherings and sports events will enter force on December 25 and last until January 5, said a statement released by the office of the prime minister.

Authorities said that tougher measures at the Tengiz oil field where hundreds of employees have contracted the virus will continue "until the epidemiological situation stabilises".

The government also said that it would introduce price controls to make medicines used to treat the virus 24 percent cheaper on average, the statement said.

Year-end company parties are an important source of income for the Kazakh hospitality sector which has taken a battering over the course of a year that has included two coronavirus lockdowns.

Kazakhstan's chief sanitary doctor warned in May that the Tengiz oil field where US oil giant Chevron has a 50 percent stake could face closure over rising cases.

Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country of around 19 million people, has registered 146,584 cases of the coronavirus with 130,766 recoveries and 2,147 deaths.