Nursultan Nazarbayev contracts COVID-19

Nursultan Nazarbayev contracts COVID-19

Kazakhstan's former president and official 'Leader of the Nation' Nursultan Nazarbayev has tested positive for the coronavirus, a statement on his official website said.

"Currently, the First President of Kazakhstan is in self-isolation. Unfortunately, the last test... for the coronavirus infection showed a positive result. There is no cause for concern," the statement said.

The statement said that Nazarbayev is "continuing to work remotely."

"There is no reason for concern," his spokesman Aidos Ukibay wrote on Twitter.

Nazarbayev, who turns 80 next month, served as Kazakhstan's president for close to three decades before handing the reins over to hand-picked successor Kassym-Jomart Tokayev last year.

He retains a number of powerful positions in the authoritarian Central Asian country including the chairmanships of the national security council and the ruling party.

He is also constitutionally honoured as the 'Leader of the Nation' -- a designation that provides him with unique policymaking privileges.

Other high-ranking Kazakh officials who said this month they tested positive for the coronavirus include Health Minister Yelzhan Birtanov and Nurlan Nigmatulin, who is the chairman of the lower house.

Berik Uali, President Tokayev's spokesman, also tested positive for the virus.

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