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Kazakhstan to cut international flights

21 October, 2020 08:24

A video-conference of the Interdepartmental Commission to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin has taken place this week. In keeping with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's instructions, the Commission has initiated additional measures to fight the coronavirus infection. Read Strategy2050.kz for more information.

As of October 20, Kazakhstan reported 115 new COVID-19 cases. Over the past 3 weeks, about 17 thousand inspections have been carried out; over 7 thousand violations of the quarantine regime have been detected.

The Prime Minister noted that the population still knows not so much about the danger of COVID-19, social distancing regime, and sanitary requirements aren’t observed in a proper way, especially on the issue of obligatory wearing of face masks in public places and in public transport. In this connection, PM Askar Mamin ordered to intensify awareness-raising work among Kazakhstanis and to strengthen control over compliance with sanitary requirements.

The Interdepartmental Commission made several decisions:

I. To tighten sanitary and epidemiological control at border checkpoints

reduce the number of international flights from October 26, taking into account the epidemiological situation in foreign countries;

conduct obligatory PCR testing for COVID-19 for all people arriving in the territory of Kazakhstan (including citizens of Kazakhstan), as well as drivers carrying out bilateral international transportation;

validity period of a certificate on PCR testing for those arriving from abroad, including citizens of Kazakhstan, shall be determined up to 3 days.

Taking into account the recommendations of the Healthcare Ministry and according to the WHO map the Civil Aviation Committee of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development has reported that some international passenger flights will be reduced in both directions: UAE - for eight flights a week (from 24 to 16); Belarus - for five flights a week (from 9 to 4); Germany - for two flights a week (from 6 to 4); Ukraine - for two flights a week (from 3 to 1).

The Committee also reported that the flights will be operated in strict compliance with sanitary and epidemiological requirements, such as thermometry, social distancing, face mask mode, the requirement for a PCR testing, and in accordance with the schedule published on the airlines' websites.

The Civil Aviation Committee noted that these amendments will last until the end of the autumn-winter period.

Air Astana reported that will cut flights to Turkey, Ukraine, Germany and the United Arab Emirates since October 21.

“From October 21, in accordance with the instructions of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Air Astana will reduce the number of international flights to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and Germany. The weekly frequency of flights to Istanbul will decrease from 16 to 12 flights, to Dubai - from 12 to 8 flights, to Kiev - from 3 to 1 flight, to Frankfurt - from 6 to 4 flights”, the message reads.

The airline's press service also added that charter flights to Sharm el-Sheikh and the Maldives will be operated, while the domestic flight schedule will remain unchanged.

“We support government's actions to stop the spread of the virus. At the same time, the travel, tourism and recreation industry is a powerful generator of global economic activity and job creation. It is imperative that these industries are able to fully restart in early 2021, otherwise the financial and social consequences will be extremely serious both for the national economy and for the lives of people. We firmly believe that COVID-19 testing on international passengers is key to this relaunch, according to the protocols of IATA and the Asia-Pacific Airlines Association, in which we are a full member”, said President Peter Foster.

According to IATA research, the cabin is safer than other public places in terms of virus transmission, and PCR testing of passengers and wearing masks on board are the most effective methods to combat the spread of infection.

II. PCR tеsting

Since October 19, the vast majority of regional laboratories have reduced the cost for PCR testing to KZT 9,000.

III. Phased rеsumption of activitiеs of businessеs in regions with "green" stablе еpidemiological situation

From October 24, all shopping and entertainment centers, trading houses, covered markets will start working on Saturdays until 05:00 p.m.

From October 26 this year, the cinemas with occupancy ratеs of no more than 30% will rеsume thеir work, but keeping distancе and wearing face masks.

IV. Maintaining rеstrictive mеasures

The ban on activitiеs of prеschool institutions, billiard and computеr clubs, еntertainment vеnues, restaurants and nightclubs will rеmain. The ban on intеrregional passеnger transportation and thе formation of sitting carriages will continuе to opеrate.