May 6, 2020 / 10:14 AM / 22 days ago

Kazakhstan says spread of coronavirus has slowed

ALMATY (Reuters) - The spread of the novel coronavirus in Kazakhstan has slowed in recent days, the Central Asian nation’s government said on Wednesday, indicating it could exit a state of emergency next week.

The daily growth of new confirmed cases had been stable at around 7% over the last two weeks, according to the healthcare ministry. Over the last three days, however, it has fallen to below 4%, it said.

Kazakhstan declared a state of emergency in mid-March and locked down the country to curb the spread of the disease, which is known to have infected 4,298 people to date, of whom 29 have died.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said last month he would let the state of emergency elapse on May 11 unless there was a spike in fresh coronavirus cases.

The outbreak has slowed work on some major projects such as the expansion of the giant Tengiz oilfield and, coupled with the drop in oil prices, has prompted the government to introduce a $14 billion stimulus package.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Pravin Char

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