Coronavirus live updates | Georgian Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter, some overnight in churches

19 April 2020
The Sameba Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

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19 Apr 2020, 18:23

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

19 Apr 2020, 18:16

Daghestani Vice Prime Minister reportedly in intensive care

On Friday, media outlet Derbent and other local news sources reported that Anatoliy Karibov, Vice Prime Minister of Daghestan, was placed in intensive care at the Republican Centre of Infectious Diseases in the city of Makhachkala.

Karibov was diagnosed with coronavirus on 9 April. 

On Sunday, local authorities confirmed 35 new cases of COVID-19 in the region, increasing the total to 292. 

19 Apr 2020, 15:07

Abkhazia to re-allow agricultural markets

With the decree of acting  President Valeriy Bganba, a state of emergency with a curfew has been extended in Abkhazia until May, though some regulations have been relaxed. 

As a result, Abkhazian authorities will allow agricultural markets, closed since 28 March, to function for three days a week starting tomorrow.

On Friday, Bganba, who is yielding his office to president-elect Aslan Bzhaniya in four days, ordered Abkhazia’s sanitary authorities to disinfect all markets before opening them.

 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.

19 Apr 2020, 15:00

Some South Ossetians celebrate Easter in church, despite government request

A service in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. Credit: Orthodox Church of Alania Facebook page.

According to outlets run by local authorities, a number of Orthodox Christians in South Ossetia marked Easter last night in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and the Church of Holy Trinity in Tskhinvali (Tskhinval).

On 1 April, the local Orthodox Church of Alania called on their flock to closely follow the rules of the 27 March government decree. The decree banned public and social events like weddings, festivities and 'memorial events' — though it did not make any specific reference to religious gatherings. 

A week later they also asked churchgoers to ‘keep a safe distance’.

During both the Palm Sunday church services on 12 April and last night in South Ossetia, congregants, including minors, were seen in close contact with each other.

South Ossetian President Anatoly Bibilov, who had earlier urged residents to ‘pray at home’ was reported not to have attended any public celebration.

South Ossetia remains the only region in the Caucasus where the local authorities have not yet confirmed a single case of COVID-19.   

 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.

19 Apr 2020, 12:20

Azerbaijan prolongs quarantine regime until 4 May

The Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers announced that the special quarantine regime in the country will be prolonged until 4 May. 

They also announced that the borders with Georgia and Iran will also be closed until this date.

19 Apr 2020, 09:00


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

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Orthodox Christians in Georgia gathered in churches throughout the country to mark the coming of Easter. As there is a curfew in place from 21:00–06:00, parishioners spent the night at the churches.

The service at the Sameba Trinity Cathedral was led by Church head Patriarch Ilia II.

The Bishop of Vladikavkaz, Leonid Gorbachyov, refused to close churches in North Ossetia over Easter, calling a decision by local medical authorities ordering them to do so ‘unconstitutional’.

The authorities in Armenia announced that the rate that the number of confirmed cases was doubling had slowed to every 17 days. 

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev announced that the quarantine regime in the country would be prolonged. 

‘I believe that this will be the right step because so far there are only the first demonstrations of positive dynamics. We must make it sustainable.’

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Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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