Feature: Chinese medical team shares anti-coronavirus expertise in Kazakhstan

Chinese medical team members discuss anti-virus measures with Kazakh fellows at the National Public Health Center of Kazakhstan in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, April 10, 2020. (National Public Health Center of Kazakhstan/Handout via Xinhua)

The visit from Chinese experts is a timely and accurate decision made by the leaders of the two countries, said Birtanov.

Ten Chinese experts have begun their work here, sharing expertise on how to tame the novel coronavirus spread with their Kazakh colleagues.

The group's 15-day schedule started on Friday with a visit to the National Public Health Center of Kazakhstan, which collects information on and updates statistics of COVID-19 in the country.

After getting acquainted with the epidemiological situation in Kazakhstan and the measures being taken to combat the disease, the experts held a large-scale online conference with Kazakh doctors across the country.

Dr. Lu Chen, the vice president of the People's Hospital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, presented the seventh version of China's diagnosis and treatment protocol of COVID-19. He also shared his first-hand experience in the diagnosis and treatment of patients and measures to curb infection of health workers.

"Around 3,400 Chinese health workers were infected at the beginning of the epidemic, mostly in the city of Wuhan. But after hospitals adopted tough preventive measures and secured enough protective gear supplies, the number of health worker infections dropped sharply," said Lu.

Workers unload Chinese-donated medical supplies at the Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, April 9, 2020. (Photo by Kalizhan Ospanov/Xinhua)

Lu also talked about COVID-19 prevention and control measures at the national and municipal levels, and discussed procedures for tracing and isolating those who have been in close contact with confirmed patients.

While introducing the situation in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, where the experts come from, Lu said a total of 76 people were infected, with the last patient recovering over one month ago. Some doctors and nurses from Xinjiang also went to assist in Hubei Province, the country's region hardest hit by COVID-19.

Chinese doctors hailed Kazakh efforts in the fight against COVID-19. "During our short stay, we noticed that the work to contain the coronavirus is well conducted in Nur-Sultan where the quarantine is observed. All wear face masks," said Lu Xiaobo, an infectious diseases doctor.

Photo taken on April 9, 2020 shows medical supplies from China at the Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. (Photo by Kalizhan Ospanov/Xinhua)

The eventful day ended with an online meeting with Kazakh Health Minister Yelzhan Birtanov.

The minister said restrictions imposed since mid-March have resulted in a slower increase of cases in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. However, infection cases in other regions have jumped quickly, leading the government to extend a state of emergency until the end of April.

The visit from Chinese experts is a timely and accurate decision made by the leaders of the two countries, said Birtanov.

Kazakhstan was among the first batch of countries to offer support to the Chinese people amid the initial outbreak, which showed the neighborly relations between the two countries, said Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan Zhang Xiao, who also attended the meeting.

The Chinese medical team arrived in Nur-Sultan on Thursday night, with the 10-member team also due to visit Almaty and Karaganda.

Kazakhstan has registered 859 cases and 10 deaths as of Saturday. A total of 64 patients have been discharged from hospital.