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. The Chinese government has sent a team of medical experts to Kazakhstan at the invitation of its government to help the country battle the COVID-19 outbreak. (National Public Health Center of Kazakhstan/Handout via Xinhua)

 
At the invitation of the Kazakh government, the Chinese government has dispatched a 10-member medical team to aid the country’s battle against COVID-19. Bringing medical supplies offered to Kazakhstan from China, the team flew two military transport aircraft to Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport on April 9. 

The Global Times reached Lu Chen, a deputy dean of the People’s Hospital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and also deputy director of the medical team on Sunday. Lu said that the Chinese team started training medical staff in Kazakhstan.

“We’ve been devoted to our work under the guidance of China’s National Health Commission and the Xinjiang regional government. We had visited the downtown districts, isolated hotels and local centers for disease control and prevention and talked to medical experts from the Astana Medical University and the Karaganda Medical University. Our work has been praised by the Kazakhstan counterparts,” Lu said.

The pandemic might spread more widely in Kazakhstan, so it is hard to estimate whether there will be cluster infections in the country, which also faces a shortage of medical supplies, according to Lu. 

The medical team is consisted of doctors in the fields of traditional Chinese medicine, critical diseases, infectious diseases and respiratory departments from the People’s Hospital of Xinjiang, Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Xinjiang, the No.1 Hospital affiliated to Xinjiang Medical University, and the Friendship Hospital in Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture as well as the prefecture’s center for disease control and prevention.  

During the video interview with the Global Times, Lu said he was about to visit a children’s hospital. The medical team’s schedule is tight, said Lu, who wore protective suits.

According to Kazakhstan media, as of 10:00 am of Sunday, Kazakhstan has reported 880 confirmed cases with a death toll of 10. The epidemic in the country will reach a peak within one to two weeks, said a senior official from the Kazakhstan Ministry of Heath, according to the news outlet, Inforomburo.kz., 

Lu said that Kazakhstan is in a national emergency currently and the streets in the capital city are almost empty. “Vehicles need to receive strict checks. Local residents abide by the prevention rules. The hotel we lived and people around us are taking good prevention measures.”

As for the training to the medical staff in Kazakhstan, Lu said that the country has trained all medical staff, but the training was not thorough, which left some problems regarding diagnosis capabilities. 

The medical staff of Kazakhstan raised more than 30 questions to the Chinese medical team on the first day. The questions accumulated to 157 in the past two days, covering diagnosis, treatments, isolation measures, treatment to patients in critical conditions, and information released to the public. 

“They [medical staff] are in high spirit with the training,” Lu said, noting that Kazakhstan has inherited the medical system of the former Soviet Union and it can deal with the current epidemic. 

But the current problem is the shortage of medical supplies, which needs attention, Lu said. 

The Global Times learned that the medical supplies taken to Kazakhstan from China included masks, protective suits, respirators and Chinese patent medicines like Lianhua Qingwen capsules.

According to Kazakhstan media, a batch of 4.5 tons of humanitarian supplies donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma’s Foundation arrived at Alma-Ata.