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Coronavirus live updates | Georgian Government: COVID-19 infections near ‘peak’  

21 April 2020
Tbilisi's Freedom Square stands empty during State of Emergency. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

The latest stories:

In pictures | Life under quarantine in Gyumri

Several churches defy Georgian Patriarchate and close churches to the public

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Analysis | Study suggests large numbers in Georgia to celebrate Easter in church

Azerbaijan arrests journalists for ‘violating quarantine’

‘Stay home or what happened to Italy will happen to us’ Georgian health official warns churchgoers

Georgian Government will not close churches — ‘especially on Easter’

Analysis | Georgia follows the Japan trajectory, for now

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21 Apr 2020, 19:57

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

21 Apr 2020, 19:42

Gagra and Gali quarantine eased in Abkhazia 

As of today, authorities have removed the ban on entering Gagra and Gali — Abkhazia’s westernmost and easternmost districts. The curfew in the two regions has also been lifted.

A state of emergency over the outbreak of coronavirus infection, in place since 28 March, technically ended yesterday. As of that day, Abkhazian authorities have allowed agricultural markets to function for three days a week. 

Educational institutions, food establishments, and hospitality facilities remain closed, public transport is still shut down, and public gatherings are prohibited until early May. 

 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.

21 Apr 2020, 19:41

Police clash with anti-stay-at-home protesters in North Ossetia

Yesterday, police in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia–Alania clashed with protesters who were demanding a mandatory stay-at-home order be rescinded. 

Up to 2,000 protesters who reportedly gathered in the capital Vladikavkaz were also calling for the resignation of North Ossetian head Vyacheslav Bitarov and the dissolution of the local parliament.

Read the full story: Police clash with anti-stay-at-home protesters in North Ossetia

21 Apr 2020, 19:08

Armenian town of Vardenis placed under lockdown

Armenia’s Special Commission on the State of Emergency has placed the town of Vardenis, located in Gegharkunik province, under lockdown. To date, there have been 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the town, which has a population of 12,500.

All vehicles and persons will not be allowed to enter or leave Vardenis with the exception of those carrying essential supplies, including food, medicine, and fuel. These restrictions will come into force at 08:00 on 22 April and will remain in place until midnight on 28 April.

An employee of the Vardenis State Clinic was the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on 17 April after which the clinic was temporarily closed. Vardenis Hospital has also restricted its services to emergencies and urgent medical care only, after 12 hospital staff were also confirmed to have contracted the virus.

21 Apr 2020, 18:54

Armenian government announces Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day plans

Armenian Genocide Memorial. Official Photo.

Armenia’s government has presented its plans for the commemoration of the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on 24 April.

Due to the pandemic, the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial will be closed. Instead, commemorative events will commence on 23 April at 21:00 when all street lights will be turned off and church bells across the country will toll. The government has called on all citizens to also turn off the lights in their homes during that time.

At 10:00, the country’s Prime Minister, President, and Speaker of the National Assembly, as well as the Catholicos of All Armenians, will visit the Memorial to pay their respects.

At 22:00, a cultural program will commence live with the participation of national ensembles and individual artists and will continue until dawn.

All events at the Memorial will be broadcast live.

21 Apr 2020, 18:17

Georgian government to present economic relief plan on Friday

According to Irakli Chikovani, the spokesperson for the Georgian Prime Minister, the Georgian government will present an economic anti-crisis plan on Friday. 

Chikovani said that the scheme is composed of two parts, a ‘social assistance plan’ and a ‘business assistance anti-crisis plan’.

Georgian opposition parties have claimed they would not support an extension of the State of Emergency unless the government announced economic relief for Georgian citizens and businesses.

21 Apr 2020, 18:15

Over 22,000 Armenian citizens have returned to Armenia since 14 March

Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that since 14 March, over 22,000 Armenian citizens have been evacuated to Armenia from different parts of the world. Those who could not be evacuated have been offered housing by local Armenian embassies. 

A number of Armenian citizens remain stranded in Russia’s Domodedovo Airport, the Ministry has stated that a flight for those citizens will be organised soon.

21 Apr 2020, 17:54

Armenia’s COVID-19 cases growing at a daily rate of 3% to 4%

Armenia’s Health Ministry announced that in the past week, the country has had a steady daily growth rate of 3% to 4% of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Due to ongoing recoveries, the number of active cases remains relatively stable at around 700-800.

The Ministry also raised concerns about a growing number of confirmed cases among the ranks of health professionals in the country, it did not specify how many had the virus.

21 Apr 2020, 17:20

Georgian Government aims to prolong State of Emergency as COVID-19 nears infection ‘peak’  

Tbilisi's Freedom Square stands empty during State of Emergency. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

The Georgian government has appealed to the president to extend the state of emergency until 22 May. 

According to Irakli Chikovani, an adviser to the Georgian Prime Minister, it is currently becoming harder to identify the sources of infected patients as Georgia is nearing the peak of COVID-19 transmission. 

However, he added, in two to three weeks, ‘once we overcome the peak’, the country will start gradually removing restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of the virus. 

‘We will be able to weaken some of the restrictions even during the period of the State of Emergency. For example, from Monday, 27 April, we will remove the ban on transportation via private vehicles’, Chikovani said.

21 Apr 2020, 16:03

Doctors in Kabardino-Balkaria being trained to work in intensive care

Doctors in Kabardino-Balkaria are being trained to work in intensive care at the simulation centre of Kabardino-Balkaria’s State University, the Kabardino-Balkaria operational headquarters for combating coronavirus reported on its Instagram page.

Over a hundred doctors have passed the training courses in the past week.

21 Apr 2020, 15:52

Several Azerbaijani police officers infected with COVID-19

Police Officer in Azerbaijan. Photo credit: Turan.

Ehsan Zahidov, the chief spokesperson for Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry, told Turan that several police officers have been infected with COVID-19, he did not give a specific number.

The infected officers are reportedly in stable condition.

21 Apr 2020, 12:33

Priests quarantined in Georgian monastery after visitor diagnosed with COVID-19

Martkopi monastery. Photo credit: travelgeorgia.ru

Several priests were put in self-quarantine at the Martkopi Monastery, located in Georgia’s Kvemo Kartli region after one of their visitors were diagnosed with COVID-19.

According to Kvemo Kartli head Shota Rekhviashvili, self-isolation is being implemented as a preventative measure.

‘As far as I know, they don’t have symptoms. If needed, stricter measures will be introduced here’, said Rekhviashvili. 

A local monk told Formula News that the infected parishioner who visited the head of the monastery alerted them after she had tested positive for the virus.

The priests’ quarantine is expected to last 2 weeks.

21 Apr 2020, 09:30

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Tuesday, 21 April. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

In North Ossetia’s city of Vladikavkaz, MBK-Media reported a protest of 2,000 people  at Shtyba Square in the city center. Demonstrators called for an end to social-distancing and isolation measures implemented because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Muslim religious authorities in Georgia’s city of Marneuli have been forced to deliver food to poor families via donkey after their plea to use a car was rejected by the municipality. Shortly after the Georgian government announced a ban on transportation via private cars on 17 April, the Patriarchate of Georgia announced that the ban did not apply to clergy and church personnel.

In Azerbaijan, according to the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, recoveries have outpaced active cases. 

If you appreciate our live updates during this difficult time, please consider supporting our work. Every little bit helps! 

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

In pictures | Life under quarantine in Gyumri

Several churches defy Georgian Patriarchate and close churches to the public

Georgian social workers forced to pay for taxis to visit domestic abuse victims

Analysis | Study suggests large numbers in Georgia to celebrate Easter in church

Azerbaijan arrests journalists for ‘violating quarantine’

‘Stay home or what happened to Italy will happen to us’ Georgian health official warns churchgoers

Georgian Government will not close churches — ‘especially on Easter’

Analysis | Georgia follows the Japan trajectory, for now

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