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Coronavirus live updates | Georgia to open for ‘green zone’ countries only

2 June 2020
Georgian Airways Boeing 737. Photo: Georgian Airways.

 

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02 Jun 2020, 19:07

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

02 Jun 2020, 18:43

Chechnya further relaxes restrictions

On Monday evening, the Head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced the ‘second stage’ of the republic’s reopening.

He has announced that retail, medical and beauty establishments are allowed to reopen, so long as they follow appropriate safety and hygiene measures. 

Chechnya residents will also be allowed to walk outside their homes, so long as they do not go further than 500 metres from home. For extended periods outside of the home, residents will still require special passes.

The local government has also allowed mosques to reopen and hold Friday prayers for worshippers who are not elderly and do not have underlying health conditions. Those attending must also wear face masks. 

02 Jun 2020, 15:46

Nalchik mayor tests positive for COVID-19

Teymuraz Akhokhov, the mayor of  Kabardino-Balkaria’s capital of Nalchik, has tested positive for COVID-19, Interfax-Yug reports, citing the city administration. According to Interfax-Yug, Akhokhov has only mild symptoms and is currently in isolation. The city administration continues to operate normally.

02 Jun 2020, 15:26

Enguri (Ingur) crossing closed again after ‘532 return’ to Abkhazia

On Monday evening, Abkhazian authorities closed a checkpoint on the River Enguri (Ingur) after briefly allowing 'citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia who were treated in neighbouring Georgia’ to return home. 

Russian state-run news outlet Sputnik Abkhazia cited Abkhazia's State Security Service and claimed that since 26 May, 532 persons returned to Abkhazia.

According to Zugdidi-based Georgian agency Livepress.ge, those having only temporary residence permits were also allowed to return. 

Most of the returnees are ethnic Georgians residing in Abkhazia’s easternmost Gali (Gal) District. 

On 14 March, citing a ‘rising number of cases’ of COVID-19 infection in Georgia (then 24), Abkhazia closed the crossing to Georgia-controlled territory.

While the Abkhazian government declared the crossing open last week unilaterally, both Abkhazian and Georgian authorities have confirmed that some Abkhazian residents were allowed to travel through the crossing to receive medical services.

 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.

02 Jun 2020, 14:58

Armenia’s locally produced COVID-19 tests ready 

According to the Special Commission on the State of Emergency, the country’s Centre for Molecular Biology will send the first batch of 350 locally produced COVID-19 tests to the National Centre for Disease Prevention and Control today. 

The Centre for Molecular Biology will be capable of producing 3,000-5,000 tests daily, which, according to the Special Commission, is enough to cover Armenia’s needs. 

Today, official numbers of total confirmed cases in Armenia surpassed 10,000, with 517 testing positive for the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

02 Jun 2020, 11:50

Georgia to open for ‘green zone’ countries only

According to Amiran Gamkrelidze, Director of Georgia's National Centre for Disease Control, Georgia plans to accept tourists from so-called 'green zones' where epidemiological situations have improved. 

Gamkrelidze mentioned Armenia as an example of a country not safe to open travel with. He characterised the situation in all four countries neighbouring Georgia as 'grave'.

The Georgian government is currently targeting potential tourists from Israel, Austria, Germany, Czechia, Greece and the Baltic states. Last year, 71.4% of foreign tourists visiting Georgia were from Azerbaijan (19.7%), Russia (19%), Armenia (17.6%), and Turkey (14.9%). 

Georgian authorities have indicated previously that they would expect any foreign tourist to have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous 72 hours upon entering Georgia regardless of country of origin. 

Since announcing that Georgia would start receiving international tourists from July onward, the government has been seeking to brand the country as 'COVID-free', with PM Giorgi Gakharia floating the idea of creating special 'safe tourist zones' in Georgia's landmark tourist destinations.

 

02 Jun 2020, 11:34

Armenia continues to increase ICU bed capacity

According to Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan, the country will be increasing its ICU bed capacity. Nearly 140 beds will be added to three major  medical centres in Yerevan in the near future. 

Torosyan also reported that, as of 1 June, there are 440 patients in serious condition and 55 patients in critical condition, 16 of whom are on ventilators. According to Torosyan, the number of patients in serious and critical condition has been hovering around 500 for the last several days.

02 Jun 2020, 10:36

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Tuesday, 2 June. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced yesterday morning that he and his family tested positive for COVID-19. They are self-isolating in the Prime Minister’s residence. The PM said that they were not showing any symptoms and that he would continue to work from self-isolation.

Georgia's National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have confirmed a new epidemiological cluster with at least 15 cases in Saburtalo district of Georgia's capital Tbilisi. Despite experiencing a relative growth in new COVID-19 infections, including outside Tbilisi, Georgian medical authorities have not said if they are considering a recommendation to reimpose harsh anti-epidemic measures that are currently being rescinded nationwide. 

Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov announced on Sunday that his republic and neighbouring Daghestan should expect medical equipment as an aid from the United Arab Emirates this week. According to Kadyrov, Mohamed bin Zayed, Prince of the Abu Dhabi Emirate, offered the help during their recent telephone conversation. 

As Russia marked 232 deaths yesterday, a record high, Daghestan recorded the second highest number of fatalities among Russia’s region, with 50 fatalities in a day. With an additional 141 confirmed cases since Sunday, Daghestan has surpassed 5,000 cases. To date, there have been 260 recorded deaths from COVID-19 in Daghestan. 

Yesterday, Karachay-Cherkessia reported 70 new infections, a record number of new daily cases for the region. The numbers have been on steady rise for the last ten days. Kazim Shamanov, Health Minister of Karachay-Cherkessia, assured the public that the healthcare system would not be overwhelmed. 

Meanwhile, Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, has announced a probe into the growing outbreak in Karachay-Cherkessia, including issues pertaining to the labour rights of Cherkessk hospital staff.

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