Stop the spread or go home: Kazakh president threatens the entire cabinet

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jul 10, 2020, 02.14 PM(IST)

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev Photograph:( Reuters )

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The statement has also come after China alleged that the 'unknown pneumonia' in Kazakhistan is deadlier than the novel coronavirus.

With an increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases despite a second lockdown, the Kazakh President is now getting frustrated with his cabinet.

On Saturday, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said he may sack his whole cabinet if the second lockdown fails to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"It would raise questions about the government's ability to work in its current composition" if there is no improvement by the end of the lockdown, Tokayev's office quoted him as saying.

Also read: 'Unknown Pneumonia' deadlier than coronavirus sweeping across Kazakhstan, warns Chinese Embassy

Tokayev says the inability of the cabinet to handle the pandemic reflects poorly on the entire government. The statement came after the number of coronavirus cases rose to 55,000, including 264 deaths. The country reported its highest daily spike of coronavirus cases on Thursday of 1,962 cases, and reduced to 1,726 on Friday.

The statement has also come after China alleged that the 'unknown pneumonia' in Kazakhistan is deadlier than the novel coronavirus.

He also ordered the cabinet to bring the crippling economy out of the downward spiral after the economy shrank by 1.8 per cent year-on-year in January-June due to the service sector being hit by the first lockdown in March-May.

Tokayev said the government would allocate an additional 150 billion tenge ($363 million) towards combating the COVID-19 outbreak and urged the central bank to lower its inflation target to 8.0-8.5% from 9.0-11.0% this year. 

Along with the financial decisions, he has also permanently banned sales of agricultural land to foreigners, ending a long-running discussion about controversial land reform plans.