June 26, 2020 / 11:34 AM / 16 days ago

Kazakh malls, markets to close at weekend as capital issues stay-home order

People wait to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a mobile testing station in Almaty, Kazakhstan June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

ALMATY (Reuters) - Major Kazakh cities will close their shopping malls, markets and parks for a second weekend in a row, authorities said on Friday, in an attempt to curb the coronavirus which has stretched the Central Asian nation’s healthcare system.

Both the capital Nur-Sultan and the biggest city Almaty announced their plans on Friday and several provinces followed suit. Nur-Sultan and Almaty will also shut down public transit for the weekend and the former issued a stay-at-home order for the same period.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the former Soviet republic bordering Russia and China has tripled this month to more than 33,000, with 147 deaths and hospitals filled to capacity in several cities.

Kazakhstan ended a nationwide lockdown in May, but started locking down towns and villages again in recent weeks, focusing on those of importance to its mining and energy sectors.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov

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