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Abkhazia nurse ‘dies of heart attack’ after being sent to Georgian quarantine hotel

17 March 2021
Nargiza Abutidze. Image via Facebook.

A 63-year-old nurse from the Gali region of Abkhazia has died in a quarantine hotel several hours after crossing to Georgian-controlled territory to seek urgent medical care.

Nargiza Abutidze was taken by Georgian authorities to a quarantine hotel in Anaklia on 16 March.

Several residents of Gali reported that Abutidze had suffered from a heart attack, and had tested negative for COVID-19.

One such resident, Nino Rigvava, wrote on social media that border guards in Georgia ignored Abutidze’s health condition.

‘[She was sent] to a hotel in Anaklia, where she was later found dead’, she wrote.

The Zugdidi Public Health Centre confirmed her death to OC Media but declined to give further details.

The Georgian Ministry of Health declined to comment on Abutidze’s death, insisting that they would make an official statement. 

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The Ministry of Reconciliation and Civil Equality did not respond to a request for comment while the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who control the Georgian side of the Enguri crossing, said they were not familiar with the details of the case.

Restrictions on travel between Abkhazia and Georgian-controlled territory have been increased since the outbreak of the pandemic, with Georgian authorities enforcing the same rules as with their borders to the rest of the world.

From 12 February, some of the restrictions were eased for elderly people and others with special requirements, with quarantine time reduced from 12 to 5 days.

 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.