Kazakh Coronavirus Infections Rise To Six; First Uzbek Case

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kazakhstan has risen to six after two new infections were discovered after the patients arrived from abroad, the Health Ministry said on March 14.

One of the infected patients flew to the second city of Almaty from Moscow, officials said.

The other, a woman, flew to the capital, Nur-Sultan, from Warsaw, Poland.

Kazakhstan is one of two — along with Uzbekistan — of the five post-Soviet Central Asian republics to have officially registered any cases of the coronavirus at the center of a global pandemic that has infected more than 150,000 people in 135 countries, areas, or territories and killed more than 5,700.

Uzbekistan early on March 15 reported its first confirmed case of infection, with the government saying it was an Uzbek citizen returning from France.

Kazakhstan was thought to have been coronavirus-free until four infections were confirmed on March 13.

Four of Kazakhstan’s six COVID-19 patients are being treated in Almaty and the other two in Nur-Sultan, the ministry said.

Kazakhstan has already announced the cancelation of Norouz holiday celebrations and a military parade devoted to the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.

Officials there say more than 1,000 people are currently in quarantine and nearly 500 others are in self-quarantine at home.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan moved quickly to severely restrict travelers from nearby China after the outbreak of the coronavirus began late last year.

Trump Negative For Coronavirus

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus, the White House physician has said.

“This evening, I received confirmation that the test is negative,” Sean Conley, the president’s physician said in a statement on March 14.

“One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation at Mar-a-Lago, the president remains symptom-free,” he said, referring to Trump’s Florida resort.

In a briefing with reporters earlier, Trump said he had the test performed after coming in contact at the resort with several members of a Brazilian presidential delegation who have since tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The White House previously had said there was no reason for him to take the test despite his contacts with at least three people who tested positive.

The Brazilian Embassy in Washington said late on March 13 that its charge d’affaires, Nestor Forster, tested positive after sitting at Trump’s dinner table at Mar-a-Lago.

So did a top aide to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took a photo with Trump and attended a party with him. Bolsonaro has tested negative for the virus, but his health minister has recommended Bolsonaro undergo two additional tests and isolate himself for two weeks, in line with ministry protocols.

The 73-year-old Trump on March 13 declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, and the House of Representatives later that night passed a virus-relief bill that will call for free testing and other financial assistance to people affected by the disease.

On March 14, the White House said it has started conducting temperature checks on anyone who comes in close contact with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, including reporters and anyone entering the Oval Office.

With reporting by AP, AFP and Reuters
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