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Coronavirus live updates | Georgia's ruling party to ‘react’ to state of emergency violations during Palm Sunday

13 April 2020
Worshipers gathered outside Saint Barbare’s Church in Tbilisi. 12 April. Photo: Tamuna Chkareuli/OC Media.

The latest stories:

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13 Apr 2020, 20:01

That’s it for today, join us again tomorrow for more Coronavirus live updates.

13 Apr 2020, 19:41

Residents of Chechnya under stricter pass regime

As of today, in Chechnya, only one pass for drivers who seek to buy food or medicine will be issued per family and it will contain the times and days of the week to leave home within one’s district, the Grozny-Inform reports citing the Speaker of the Parliament of Chechnya, Magomed Daudov.

14 Apr 2020, 19:20

Georgia to get 2,000 rapid tests from the US

According to US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Dengan, the US government is sending 2,000 rapid test kits capable of detecting the COVID-19 virus ‘within hours’. 

Dengan also added that USAID will provide $1.1 million in emergency assistance to Georgia to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

13 Apr 2020, 19:06

Medical Department of Armenia’s Armed Forces will not disclose COVID-19 infection numbers

The Medical Department of Armenia’s Armed Forces announced that the army will not disclose information about the number of infected military personnel or the number of those in self-isolation. 

According to the Department, none of the infected military personnel have pneumonia, are in critical condition, or are on ventilators. As of 13 April, six soldiers, three of them conscripts, have recovered and returned to service. The Medical Department stated that for now there is no need for a state of alert in the army.

The Medical Department also announced that the upcoming conscription call-up will commence as scheduled [during the months of June-July]. All military commissions have been provided with the necessary means for protection and effective disinfection.

13 Apr 2020, 18:51

Residents of Chechnya are not allowed back into the republic without their test results

Advisor to the head of Chechnya, Adam Delimkhanov, said that residents of Chechnya outside the republic would be denied entry to Chechnya unless they have the documented proof of testing negative for the novel coronavirus with them.

He also stated that the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, organized the necessary conditions for citizens of Chechnya to undergo a coronavirus test in Moscow. ‘People need to get their test results before purchasing tickets for Moscow-Grozny flights. All other routes to the Chechen Republic are closed’, Delimkhanov said.

13 Apr 2020, 18:27

Georgian ruling party to ‘react’ to state of emergency violations during Palm Sunday

Worshipers gathered outside Saint Barbare’s Church in Tbilisi. 12 April. Photo: Tamuna Chkareuli/OC Media.

'What we saw yesterday was a situation in which the prohibitions under the state of emergency were violated in more than one place', the Georgian Dream party’s Executive Secretary Irakli Kobakhidze told journalists today. 

On Sunday, Georgian Orthodox Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, a one week before Easter. The biggest service at Tbilisi’s Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral was broadcast live on at least two national TV channels. 

Nevertheless, groups of believers flocked to churches throughout the country, violating the rules on a minimum 2-metre physical distance between individuals and a ban on gatherings of 3+ people.

Many Georgians expressed anger on social networks at having to observe a stay-at-home regime, while others disregard it without being held responsible. 

Some have also started an online petition, currently with over 4,200 signatures, demanding 'all institutions be equally required to observe the rules of assembly' during a state of emergency. 

Talking to Rustavi 2 today, Irakli Kobakhidze said that violations during Palm Sunday were 'unacceptable' and that ‘the state will react to them'.

So far, the Georgian Orthodox Church has not indicated they are planning to close churches or suspend late-night Easter services. Indeed, the Church has doubled down with clergy confirming, during last Sunday’s service, that Patriarch Ilia II would lead the liturgy that night. 

13 Apr 2020, 17:41

The number of Azerbaijani citizens waiting stranded at Daghestan-Azerbaijan crossing reaches 295

Azerbaijani citizens staying at a mosque on the Azerbaijan-Russia border. Photo: Meydan TV

At the end of last week, the head of Daghestan, Vladimir Vasiliyev, commented on the ongoing situation of 295 Azerbaijani citizens who are waiting to be allowed to go home near the Yarag-Kazmalyar checkpoint on the Daghestan section of the Russian-Azerbaijani border.

He denied rumors that Daghestani authorities prevented the Azerbaijani citizens from leaving the country, starting rather that there are ‘problems with the border authorities of Azerbaijan who do not let their compatriots into the territory of their state’.

Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbuloghlu asked his compatriots to ‘gather their will and wait’, and to maintain contact with the embassy.

All entry into Azerbaijan has been banned until April 20. However, it is uncertain if it will open after the 20th .

‘After the 20th of this month, depending on the situation, the border will either open or remain closed for some time’, the ambassador said.

Local authorities reported that Azerbaijani citizens were housed in a mosque and a hotel and were provided with food, drinking water, blankets and mattresses. However, the local newspaper Chernovik has reported they went on a hunger strike on 9 April.

13 Apr 2020, 17:25

Armenian parliament passes medical amendments

Vote in Armenian parliament. Still from official Youtube video.

Under new amendments passed by Armenia’s parliament, medical centres that don’t have a license to provide several medical services (e.g. do not have a separate department for infectious diseases) will be earmarked for providing services for patients infected with the novel coronavirus. 

These amendments also foresee incorporating medical students completing their residency programmes in the medical care of infected patients (after going through special training).

Other amendments include postponing the deadline for companies to acquire the licenses necessary for the wholesale trade of pharmaceuticals from 15 April to 15 August.

13 Apr 2020, 15:55

Armenian government approves 11th assistance package

Armenia’s government approved its eleventh assistance package today. 

The beneficiaries of this package residents of Armenia whose gas bill for the month of February 2020 did not exceed ֏10,000 ($20) and whose electricity bill for the same month did not exceed ֏5,000 ($10) — 50% of the bills for these utilities, will be covered by the state.

This money will go toward paying outstanding bills, and if the bills have been paid, will go towards future utility payments.

13 Apr 2020, 14:19

Georgia follows Japan’s COVID-19 trajectory, for now

A straight line in this chart corresponds to exponential growth with a fixed transmission rate. The steeper the slope of a line, the faster the spread of the virus. The four dashed lines indicate exponential growth where cases double daily, every third day, every week and every two weeks, respectively.

As COVID-19 infections in Georgia continue to grow slowly but steadily, Lorenz Hilfiker, the author of the Covid in Georgia blog, takes a closer look at how this development compares with the outbreaks in other countries. 

‘While Georgia is on the same trajectory as Japan, it currently falls short of the benchmark set by some other wealthy east-Asian countries.’

Read the full story: Analysis | Georgia follows the Japan trajectory, for now.

13 Apr 2020, 12:48

Export of food outside the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union is temporarily prohibited

Тhe Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission has placed a temporary ban on the export of food products from the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

The list of products includes: onions, garlic, turnips, rye, rice, buckwheat, millet, cereals, wholemeal flour and cereal grain granules, hulled buckwheat, prepared buckwheat foods, crushed and uncrushed soybeans, and sunflower seeds.

Their export is prohibited until 30 June.

Earlier, a temporary ban on exporting personal protective equipment, protective agents and disinfectants, products for medical use and materials from the EAEU until 30 September, 2020 came into force.

These decisions were part of the implementation of the ‘second package’ of measures to combat COVID-19. 

13 Apr 2020, 12:31

Of Georgians surveyed, 45% said they had only financial resources for one month

Of those Georgians surveyed, 45% said that in the current situation, with their financial resources they will be able to make through one month only if they buy only food and other items of primary consumption. The poll was carried out by Edison Research polls and ordered by Formula TV.

Of the remaining 55% of respondents, 40% said they had enough financial resources for one to four months, 8% said they had enough for three to six months and only 7% said they had enough for 6+ months.

The polls were conducted last week and 1000 Georgian residents were surveyed via telephone.

13 Apr 2020, 11:08

Georgian authorities have closed down two private medical clinics due to COVID-19 infection

Georgian medical authorities decided to put the Tbilisi Institute of Medicine under lockdown after their doctor and a patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

The anti-coronavirus task force also sealed off the Georgian-Dutch Hospital yesterday after a patient, who had gone there for other medical reasons, tested positive for COVID-19 following a negative result through a rapid test made earlier.

13 Apr 2020, 11:07

Georgia re-opens Zugdidi agricultural market

Zugdidi Agricultural Market. LivePress.ge.

On Sunday, the Georgian government allowed the partial reopening of the agricultural market in Zugdidi after a green light from the National Food Agency. 

The government had closed several markets throughout Georgia, including those in capital Tbilisi last Tuesday citing a lack of safety measures against the spread of COVID-19 infection. 

Giorgi Shengelia, the mayor of Zugdidi, said that the market area had been disinfected and vendors of fruits and vegetables have been instructed to closely follow sanitary rules while the administration will control the inflow of buyers and distance between each.

13 Apr 2020, 09:30


Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Monday, 13 April. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Nagorno-Karabakh entered an emergency situation set to last until 12 May. Presidential elections slated for 14 April will still go ahead.

In Armenia, the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated Easter Sunday with Church services broadcasted live but closed to the public.

In Georgia, celebrations of Palm Sunday went ahead with the public in attendance. Meanwhile, the government put four villages in Kobuleti Municipality, Adjara, under ‘strict quarantine’. According to the authorities, the ‘Kobuleti cluster’ comprises 18 infected individuals originally confirmed in the village of Gvara. 

Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov suggested proscribing forced labour for people violating the republic’s stay-at-home order, Grozny TV reported. Kadyrov previously approved beatings by police officers for people found on streets without good reason.

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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