May 13, 2020 / 1:52 PM / 12 days ago

Kazakhstan to reopen mosques, hotels, restaurants, passenger trains

FILE PHOTO: A police officer wearing a protective mask directs local residents as they walk through a checkpoint, set up to lock down the city to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

ALMATY (Reuters) - Kazakhstan will reopen places of worship, hotels, and small cafes and restaurants from May 18, the government said on Wednesday, two months after the Central Asian nation began a coronavirus lockdown.

Mosques, churches and other places of worship will be allowed to fill up their premises by no more than 30% of capacity, the cabinet said.

As for cafes and restaurants, only those operating outdoors or having no more than 30 seats will be able to reopen.

The government said it was also expanding internal flights and would gradually resume passenger train service - a very popular mode of travel in a nation the size of Western Europe - from June 1.

Kazakhstan has confirmed 5,417 COVID-19 cases with 32 deaths and let a state of emergency introduced in mid-March lapse this week while keeping lockdowns in place.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov, Editing by William Maclean

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