Almaty authorities have extended quarantine restrictions that have been in effect in the city since March 21 until April 12, says a resolution released by the Almaty chief sanitary inspector Zhandarbek Bekshin, according to Radio Liberty’s Kazakh Service, known locally as Radio Azattyk.   

Seven of ten items of this resolution relate to religious worship and funerals.  According to new restriction that will be in effect from March 29 to April 12, congregational prayer services will be banned in Almaty and collective iftars (break of a fast) during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will be also banned.

Individual worship and prayers are allowed (prayer rooms and rooms for performing national rituals the rooms must have markings to keep social distancing of not less than 1.5 meters and markings of not less than 2.5 meters between clergy and parishioners. 

Funeral rites are prescribed to be carried out with the participation of close relatives of no more than 10 people.  

Besides, the Almaty authorities will conduct daily monitoring of the observance by religious facilities (mosques, churches and others) of the imposed restrictions. 

The Almaty chief sanitary inspector Zhandarbek Bekshin said on March 26 that mutations specific to British and South African COVID variants, which are considered more infectious, have been identified in Almaty.