In this article we shall highlight what’s going on in Kazakhstan in connection with COVID-19, presently as of April 9, 2020 not only from the point of professional view of lawyers, but also from the point of view of ordinary people. What is happening in our country, what are the measures and restrictions adopted by the state, how and what state bodies are continuing their work, and, on the contrary, in which fields companies are forced to go online, how many people are sick and how business and people deal with this existing challenging situation.
As of April 9, 2020 in Kazakhstan there are 727 cases, recovered 54 and 8 persons passed away. The majority of infected are in Nur-Sultan city and Almaty city.
Notwithstanding timely measures taken by Kazakhstan* currently the government is forced to increase a list of cities put under quarantine as COVID-19 continues to spread around the country. Now quarantine is declared in almost all regions and cities of Kazakhstan, restrictive measures vary depending on the city and region. For example, in Nur-Sultan and Almaty cities, all Kazakhstani enterprises and organizations that are not related to enterprises providing vital functioning of cities work either work remotely or are closed at least until April 13, 2020. In many cities, patrols are strengthened, public places such as public squares and parks are closed, most shopping and business centers, restaurants and cafes are allowed to work only for delivery, and people are not allowed to leave their homes except in a nearby pharmacy, shop or hospital. An administrative fine or arrest for up to 15 days is provided for failure to comply with the quarantine regime. The previous restrictions, which prohibited gathering in groups of three or more (with the exception of family members) and ban for minors to leave their homes without adults remain in force, as well as strict control prohibiting entry or exit from cities.
Some organizations such as state and local municipalities, law enforcement bodies, healthcare organizations, mass media, grocery stores and pharmacies continue to function with precautionary measures.
So, for example, the National Institute of Intellectual Property of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NIIP) accepts online applications for registration of intellectual property items, conducts online searches, accepts payments for maintaining patents in force or for renewing them and performs other actions related to registration, renewal and maintaining in force intellectual property items. Filed applications are considered remotely by NIIP employees without any delays.
The courts hear and review cases using video-conferencing and mobile video-conferencing, through applications that allow recording of the court hearings in accordance with the terms adopted for the consideration of cases.
Presently despite quarantine measures in Nur-Sultan and Almaty cities there are no reliefs related to terms and requirements to the documents that should be submitted, the requirements remain the same.
If to speak about food supermarkets and shops there is no shortage in stocks, including buckwheat, rice and toilet paper.
In general COVID-19 pandemic forced many enterprises to reduce business activity and some had to even put on hold their activity. The government of Kazakhstan is trying to support the business and offers additional benefits: it introduced a one-time payment to those who lost their jobs and income due to the pandemic, banks agreed to postpone payments on previously issued loans, the government indexed pensions, payment of utility bills is put on hold and etc.
We can say that presently the world is facing unprecedented social situation. Since the war, there have never been such restrictions on freedom of movement, freedom of entrepreneurial activity, and unability to earn a living. However, we hope that the current crisis provided us with additional opportunities for the development and improvement of our business and we shall get out of it even more professional and client-oriented.
In conclusion we would like to say that our firm continues to function please feel free to contact us with instructions or for consultation. We will do our best in this current challenging situation in Kazakhstan and other countries of Central Asia. Countries where we work and have practice: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Armenia and Georgia.
* Kazakhstan, in our opinion, is almost one of the first countries which even in the situation of absence of COVID-19 cases from January 2020 began to undertake sanitary and epidemiological control at checkpoints across the state border, medical monitoring of people arriving from China. Kazakhstan canceled a number of mass and cultural events and etc.). COVID-19 was officially registered in Kazakhstan in the second decade of March, 2020.