Coronavirus live updates | Armenia total rises to 102

18 March 2020
Infectious diseases centre in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo: Tamuna Chkareuli/OC Media.

The latest stories:

Read the updates from 19 March here

18 Mar 2020, 20:55

Azerbaijani medical workers to receive large bonuses

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree adding an ‘urgent bonus’ to the salaries of medical workers due to their working conditions in connection with COVID-19. The bonus will be 3-5 times their official monthly salaries.

The Cabinet of Ministers has been instructed to compile a list of health workers to receive the bonuses, the terms of payment, and the size of the bonuses depending on the specifics of their work.

They will also be required to determine the terms of payment for health workers in private medical institutions involved in the fight against COVİD-19 as well as volunteers.

18 Mar 2020, 19:57

Armenia to lift restrictions on movement to and from Vagharshapat

Restrictions on movement to and from the City of Vagharshapat introduced on 15 March will be lifted at 20:00 today. According to the Prime Minister, the decision was made taking into consideration that the infection in the city had not spread further than a ‘hotspot’  in the city from about a week ago.

18 Mar 2020, 19:28

Armenia cases rise to 102

In an interview with Shant TV, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that the number of people infected in Armenia has reached 102. He stated that 75% of the cases were connected to a patient in the City of Vagharshapat, around 10 kilometres west of Yerevan, and an unnamed factory in Yerevan.

18 Mar 2020, 17:39

Abkhazia and South Ossetia brace for coronavirus

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are preparing for the coronavirus outbreak to hit, closing their borders with Georgian-controlled territory and banning foreign visitors except for Russians among other measures.

So far, neither has reported any confirmed cases of the virus. On 13 March, the Abkhazian authorities dismissed reports circulating on social media about several coronavirus casualties as ‘fake news’.

South Ossetian authorities have placed six individuals showing ‘clinical symptoms’ of COVID-19 in hospital and ordered another 18 who returned from high-risk countries to self-isolate at home.

Read the full story here: Abkhazia and South Ossetia scramble to prepare for coronavirus.

 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.

07 Apr 2020, 05:35

Georgian activists raise funds for trans people

Queer activists and community allies supported by advocacy groups the WISG, Tbilisi Pride, Equality Georgia, and Temida, have crowdfunded emergency funding for Georgian transgender people — many of them sex workers — to help them cover rent, food and medical costs during the coronavirus crisis.

18 Mar 2020, 16:27

Daghestan under ‘high alert’ over Covid-19 

Today, the head of Daghestan, Vladimir Vasilyev, signed a decree on the introduction of a high alert to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

18 Mar 2020, 16:26

Baku disinfects vessels and thousands of taxis

A taxi is disinfected in Baku. Photo via Trend News Agency.

The Baku transport agency has instructed over 20 taxi companies to disinfect more than 3000 taxies. 

The Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company (ASCO) has also disinfected eight vessels and the administrative buildings of the Caspian Marine Design Research Institute and the ASCO, as well as the water worker polyclinic.

18 Mar 2020, 16:01

Azerbaijani Parliament holds sessions online

On Wednesday the first online meeting of the Committee of Culture of Azerbaijan’s Parliament was held. The meetings were moved online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

18 Mar 2020, 15:57

Azerbaijan imports medical supplies to fight Covid-19

Medical supplies being delivered. Photo via Trend News Agency.

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation delivered medical supplies from several countries to support the work of the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan. 

Medical masks, gloves, goggles, specialized medical clothing, and disinfectants, have been transferred to the appropriate medical institutions.

18 Mar 2020, 15:51

Georgian Muslims’ department issues new recommendations

Friday prayer in Batumi. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Georgia's Muslims' Department has announced a series of religious recommendations, reportedly, following a meeting of theologists and muftis in Batumi on 17 March. 

They recommend that mosques be regularly disinfected and that imams and worshipers avoid physical contact such as handshakes. They also recommend that common prayer beads not be used, that worshipers not touch their face, and that they bring their own prayer carpets. 

The elderly and other members of high risk groups are recommended to avoid visiting mosques or other crowded places. 

Further recommendations include the cancellation of all but Friday prayers in mosques, and a temporary halt to Friday prayer sermons.

18 Mar 2020, 15:09

Georgian national bank to sell $40 million in reserves

Photo: OC Media.

The National Bank of Georgia will sell $40 million in reserves on 19 March to counter the devaluation of the national currency. 

The value of the lari has dropped by 9.3% since 27 February, when Georgia confirmed its first coronavirus case.

18 Mar 2020, 14:58

Azerbaijani vice president thanks medical personnel

Vice president of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva has released a statement urging everyone to strictly follow the government’s recommendations and requirements.

She also thanked ‘all those who are on the front line of the fight against the infection’, including doctors, medical personnel, and employees of various government agencies. 

‘I have no doubt that together we will overcome this serious challenge thanks to the best qualities of our great people, such as strength of mind and courage, mercy and compassion, faith and love’, she said.

18 Mar 2020, 13:52

Georgian government cancels press briefings 

The Georgian government has closed press briefings to journalists and will stream them through the public broadcaster instead. 

‘In order to provide for your security, the government is switching to a different type of briefing broadcasting’, government spokesperson Irakli Chikovani told journalists. 

He said that TV channels will receive the signal directly through the Georgian Public Broadcaster while journalists will have to send questions to the press service in advance.  

‘We will create a communication platform and we are ready to answer your questions as soon as possible’, He added.

18 Mar 2020, 13:30

Daghestan makes school attendance non-compulsory

Central Mosque in Makhachkala. Official photo.

Daghestan’s Ministry of Education has made attendance at schools and kindergartens non-compulsory starting from today.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

A move to remote learning of courses and the suspension of all practical courses requiring attendance has also been recommended for professional colleges and higher education institutions.

The Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports of Daghestan has temporarily canceled all sporting events.

Three Daghestani football clubs: Legion Dynamo, Makhachkala, and Anzhi — had to suspend their participation in the championship of Russia.

The Muftiate of Daghestan urged the imams of the mosques to halve the time for Friday prayers.

18 Mar 2020, 13:00

Azerbaijan confirms six more cases and four recoveries

Six new people were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 on Tuesday evening, bringing the total to 34.

The government has also announced that four more people have recovered and been sent home.

According to the government, there are currently 23 people in hospitals with coronavirus.

Azerbaijan has also launched a website with details on the coronavirus in the country — koronavirusinfo.az.

18 Mar 2020, 12:43

Armenia confirms six more cases

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has confirmed six more cases of the virus in the country in a Facebook live broadcast, bringing the total to 84. According to Pashinyan, 80% of the cases are connected to a patient in the city of Vagharshapat, around 10 kilometres west of Yerevan, and an unnamed factory in Yerevan.

There are 444 people currently in quarantine in Armenia and 799 in self-isolation. More than 700 tests have been conducted.

The prime minister also stated that 11,000 litres of medicinal alcohol is being prepared, half of which will be used to create sanitiser gel. He said that in the coming days, a new sanitiser production plant will open.

18 Mar 2020, 11:17

Four more cases confirmed in Georgia

Four more cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Georgia, bringing the total to 38. Two of the newly identified patients were in contact with patients infected before, health officials said.

There are currently 1,130 people in quarantine and 81 in hospital in Georgia. 

Four of the infected are children aged 0–14. One patient has already recovered.

Georgia is to start ‘aggressive testing’ for Covid-19 from the end of this week. According to Georgian Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze, Georgia is negotiating with China to receive new tests.

‘We are preparing for the worst-case scenario’, said Tikaradze.

18 Mar 2020, 10:24

Georgian buses isolate drivers

Buses in Tbilisi have begun to separate the drivers from passengers, with only the rear doors open for entering and exiting the vehicles.

The sign says: ‘Don't cross the line’. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

18 Mar 2020, 10:07

Six more cases confirmed in Armenia

Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan confirmed six more confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday evening, bringing the total number to 78. According to Torosyan, the six cases are connected to one case which was confirmed on 15 March.

Torosyan pointed out that 18 of the 78 cases were discovered after people under quarantine (due to being in contact with infected people) and without symptoms were tested for the virus arbitrarily. According to him, these cases might have gone unnoticed if they were tested after the 14-day quarantine period.

As of now, Armenia continues to hospitalise all confirmed patients and quarantine everyone they have come into contact with. However, Torosyan stated that the government would at some point have people who test positive for the virus bu have no symptoms self-quarantine.

18 Mar 2020, 10:00

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Wednesday, 18 March. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic around the Caucasus.

The latest stories:

Read the updates from 17 March here.

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