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Kazakh ex-president recovered from coronavirus: spokesman

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Former Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

Kazakhstan’s former president has recovered from the novel coronavirus, his spokesman said Thursday, as the Central Asian country tightens virus restrictions to combat a second wave of infections.

Strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev, who turns 80 on Monday, served as president for nearly three decades before handing the reins over to hand-picked successor Kassym-Jomart Tokayev last year.

He retains several powerful posts and his health is a national conversation topic due to the impact his death could have on the vast, oil-producing republic of more than 18 million people.

He was diagnosed with the coronavirus last month, but tested negative on Thursday, his press-secretary Aidos Ukibay tweeted.

Ukibay had previously said that Nazarbayev was not suffering virus symptoms despite the diagnosis.

The news comes as Kazakhstan prepares to tighten anti-virus restrictions from Sunday, less than two months after easing a hard lockdown in May.

Registered cases have more than quadrupled since the beginning of June, reaching 42,574 infections and 188 fatalities as of Thursday.

Hairdressers, beauty salons, swimming pools and gymnasiums are among the businesses that will be shuttered for a two-week period that can be extended, while public transport will only work during certain times of day.

The government has also cancelled mass events due on Monday for a holiday that celebrates the national capital, which was renamed “Nur-Sultan” in honour of Nazarbayev last year.


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