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Coronavirus live updates | Georgian Orthodox Church marks 17 May in ‘blessmobiles’

18 May 2020
A 'blessmobile' rides through Tbilisi streets on 17 May. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

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18 May 2020, 19:59

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

18 May 2020, 19:40

Doctor in Ingushetia calls for investigation into pharmacy price gouging  

Batyr Doskhoyev. Photo: Screengrab from video uploaded to Batyr Doskhoyev's Instagram.

Batyr Doskhoyev, an infectious diseases physician at the Clinical Republican Hospital in Nazran, Ingushetia’s largest city, has appealed to local health and anti-monopoly authorities to inspect drug stores against illegal price gouging.

In a video address uploaded to Instagram, Doskhoyev alleged that since the outbreak began, prices on several drugs that are used in the treatment of COVID-19 have risen 'two to three times' compared to neighbouring North Ossetia.

18 May 2020, 19:09

Doctors’ televised apology airs in Chechnya

A doctor in protective gear is interviewed. Screengrab from Grozny TV report.

On Saturday, a number of doctors and medical workers of the Central Republican Hospital in Gudermes, Chechnya's second-largest city, apologised on camera and retracted statements they had made last week in which they discontent over a lack of personal protective equipment.

On Saturday, after conveying the message made by Chechnya head Ramzan Kadyrov earlier in the week that ‘provocateurs must be fired’, the state-run TV channel Grozny also ran apologies from medical workers, something that human rights activists indicate has become a common practice in Chechnya due to pressure from local authorities. 

Medical workers also said earlier that their colleague had died of COVID-19, this claim was dismissed by state TV which said that the person in question, ‘had a stroke’. 

Kadyrov's reaction followed a visit on Thursday by Chechen Parliamentary Speaker Magomed Daudov to the protesting doctors in Gudermes. During the meeting, Daudov confronted the doctors and fired the hospital's chief doctor for his alleged failure to properly communicate with his subordinates.

18 May 2020, 18:34

Mufti of the North Caucasus hospitalised 

The Mufti of the North Caucasus and chair of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Karachay-Cherkessia, Ismail Berdiyev, has been hospitalised and is suspected to be ill with COVID-19. He was tested twice, his first test was positive, while the second negative, Berdiyev reportedly told TASS.

18 May 2020, 18:32

Man disappears in Grozny after returning to be with family during pandemic

A Chechen man who returned from Moscow to be with his family during the COVID-19 pandemic has been missing for over a month, his mother has told OC Media. 

Zina Khadzhiyeva said neighbours saw her son, Eduard Khadzhiyev, being taken away by unknown men in military fatigues.

Read the full story: Man disappears in Grozny after returning to be with family during pandemic.

18 May 2020, 15:37

'Minimum of 2 metres between tables': a glimpse into Georgia's post-corona restaurants

Cafes in Tbilisi. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Today, Georgia's Gastronomic Association has published some of the preliminary guidelines for when restaurants reopen, they cite Georgia's tourism, food and labour safety authorities. 

Food establishments, allowed only to deliver or provide drive-through services since late March, are expected to host guests beginning in June.

The guidelines, according to the Association, include keeping tables at restaurants two metres apart and seating no more than six guests per table (with exceptions made for family members and minors under 12). 

Georgian cafes and restaurants are also recommended to thermally screen their staff and guests daily, to have a temporary 'protective barrier' where 2-metre distance cannot be observed, and to provide guests with single-use printed menus or electronic menus accompanied with hand disinfectant. 

18 May 2020, 12:39

Marneuli Municipality opens after 55 days of quarantine

Georgia’s Marneuli Municipality is opened today, after 55 days under lockdown. 

People were not allowed to enter or exit Marneuli since 23 March. The municipality has been one of the hotspots of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

18 May 2020, 11:27


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

The biggest developments from the weekend: 

The number of COVID-19 infections grew by 30 in Georgia and as of 18 May, the total number of confirmed infections stands at 701. Of that total, 432 have recovered and 12 have died.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the annual anti-queer rally on 17 May (the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia) was not held by the Georgian Orthodox Church and its supporters. Instead, priests rode around the city in ‘blessmobiles’, often in contravention of rules that limit private vehicles to a maximum of three occupants. They did not suffer legal consequences.  

There was a spike in the number of infections in Armenia on Saturday with 239 new cases confirmed over 24 hours. As of 18 May, 4823 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, 2019 have recovered, and 61 have died.

Armenia’s Health Ministry has signed a decision mandating that COVID-19 tests only be conducted by laboratories certified by the state with a doctor’s prescription and that they be free of charge. This decision comes after several private laboratories started conducting paid coronavirus tests — the Ministry considers this unsafe.

The Health Ministry has also announced that over 40 elderly residents of the Nork Old Age Home in Yerevan, along with several staff members, have tested positive for COVID-19. The residents will be moved to hospitals to continue their treatment. 

Read the latest stories:

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