July 3, 2020 / 9:12 AM / a month ago

Kazakhstan to lock down two more cities

People queue outside a pharmacy amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Almaty, Kazakhstan June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Mariya Gordeyeva/Files

ALMATY (Reuters) - Kazakhstan will lock down the eastern cities of Oskemen and Semey from July 5 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the governor of the Eastern Kazakhstan province said on Friday.

The Central Asian nation bordering Russia and China will impose a second nationwide lockdown from the same date, but it will be softer than the first one and will allow some movement of people between provinces.

However, governor Daniyal Akhmetov wrote on Instagram the province’s main cities would be “closed” for an unspecified period of time, indicating tougher restrictions.

The former Soviet republic also locked down several industrial towns last month after lifting a nationwide “hard” lockdown in mid-May, which led to a sevenfold jump in COVID-19 cases in just six weeks.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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