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Coronavirus live updates | Ramzan Kadyrov reportedly hospitalised in Moscow

21 May 2020
Ramzan Kadyrov. Photo credit: Grozny.tv.

We want to hear from you! You can send us your stories, photos, and videos about the coronavirus via Facebook, Twitter, or email at [email protected].

21 May 2020, 19:57

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

21 May 2020, 19:19

Circassians mark Day of Mourning online

The anniversary of the 1864 defeat of the Circassians by the Russian Empire and subsequent Circassian Genocide was marked mostly online in the Northwest Caucasus this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Circassians from around the world took to social media posting photos of themselves with their left hand raised accompanied by the hashtag ‘#guauedekh’ — Circassian for ‘sorrow’.

The head of Karachay-Cherkessia, Rashid Temrezov, and the leaders of several local Circassian organisations paid tribute to the victims of the war by laying flowers at the memorial to the victims of the Caucasian War in the capital Cherkessk.

Temrezov appealed to the organisation’s leaders to increase their efforts to urge the public of the need to stay at home.

The head of Kabardino-Balkaria, Kazbek Kokov, laid flowers at the Tree of Life memorial in Nalchik.

According to TASS, the International Circassian Association held an online conference and video lessons on: ‘The Caucasian War in Fiction’.

‘Today we asked our people not to go out and not to gather in large groups at the symbol of the victims of the Caucasian war [the Tree of Live memorial]’, TASS quoted the head of the Association, Khauti Sokhrokov.

Read more on Circassian identity in Russia: Opinion | In Russia, calling yourself a Circassian is always a political stance.

21 May 2020, 18:55

Ramzan Kadyrov reportedly hospitalised in Moscow, COVID-19 suspected

Russian state-run news agency Interfax cited a source from the medical community in Moscow saying that Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov is being closely watched in Russia’s capital city as he is suspected to have contracted COVID-19. 

Earlier reports came from Russian Telegram channel Baza saying today that he had suffered respiratory distress symptoms for several days before being transported to Moscow. 

The Chechen government has, for now, made no comment on the reports.

21 May 2020, 18:38

South Ossetia’s Bibilov condemns military students fleeing quarantine

Anatoly Bibilov meets with parents of students who left quarantine early. Official photo.

According to his website, President of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov has reprimanded 25 students for prematurely leaving mandatory quarantine yesterday. 

'Either we raise real men [...] or we're raising wimps [...] unable to spend two weeks in quarantine', Bibilov was quoted as saying during a meeting with the students’ parents. He floated the idea of ‘punishing’ the students but ordered any such actions to be determined after the official inquiry.

Authorities have reported that the students were later returned to a hospital in Tskhinvali (Tskhinval) and placed back under quarantine.

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 May 2020, 18:27

Chechnya to mark Eid al-Fitr in lockdown

In Chechnya, residents will have 23 May to 26 May off work to mark Eid al-Fitr. Ministries and government departments will not be operating, with the exception of emergency services. 

Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov also announced that ‘movement within the Republic’ is prohibited. Driving a private vehicle will not be allowed, nor will individuals be allowed to visit friends and relatives. 

‘If the citizens of the republic this weekend do not comply with the applicable regulations, then everything that we have done will be done in vain. The head of the Chechen Republic requires us only one thing — to protect and save our people’, said Sharip Delimkhanov, head of the Russian National Guard in Chechnya.

21 May 2020, 18:14

Medical workers in Daghestan say promised bonuses left unpaid

Khasavyurt appealing to the Russian government. Screengrab of video on Patient Monitor Facebook page.

Paramedics in Buynaksk and Khasavyurt in Daghestan have uploaded video messages in which they complain that they did not receive the wage bonuses for medical workers promised by Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Daghestani authorities have reported that payments of bonuses to medical staff in all medical institutions were complete.

Ruslan Kudayev, an ambulance driver in Buynaksk told OC Media that 37 employees received the presidential payments while 150 did not, as they were, supposedly, not in contact with COVID-19 patients.

The situation is similar in Khasavyurt — in the video message, medical personnel report that only a handful received payments, even though as many as half of all staff had fallen ill. 

The prosecutor's office and the Investigative Committee of Daghestan have since begun an investigation into the allegations. Investigators have already verified complaints from medical workers at the Tabasaran district hospital regarding the non-payment of promised bonuses.

21 May 2020, 17:47

South Ossetia accuses European monitors of helping Lugar lab to collect ‘biomaterial’

EUMM Workers. Photo: OC Media.

The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) has 'categorically denied' claims by South Ossetia's KGB that several days ago, EUMM patrols ‘secretly’ accompanied private Georgian medical company cars in an area close to South Ossetia in order to gather ‘biological material’ for the Tbilisi-based Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research. 

According to a conspiracy theory that has been repeated numerous times in the Russian media, the Lugar Centre is a secret bioweapons lab. South Ossetian KGB has accused the Lugar Centre of being a secret bioweapons lab. 

According to EUMM, ambulance cars routinely accompany their patrols and that their recent monitoring activities had nothing to do with collecting ‘biological material’ as claimed by KGB. 

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Georgia, South Ossetian authorities have insisted repeatedly that Georgian authorities sought to spread the virus to the region. 

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 May 2020, 16:33

North Ossetia’s health minister diagnosed with COVID-19

The Minister of Health of North Ossetia – Alania, Tamerlan Gogichayev, has been diagnosed with COVID-19. He announced this on-air on the Ossetia-Iryston television channel and urged residents in the republic to avoid crowded places and to wear masks and other protective equipment when possible. 

21 May 2020, 12:24

Armenian Prime Minister says public needs to take outbreak more seriously 

During a government session this morning, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that the public must take the country’s coronavirus infection numbers more seriously, and behave in a manner appropriate to the severity of the crisis. 

‘At this stage’, Pashinyan said. ‘We need to maintain quarantine conditions without a quarantine.’

The Prime Minister also decried the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has expressed concern that if the rise in cases does not slow down then based on the government’s predictions by 29 May the country will have 10,000 cases and by 12 June — 20,000 cases.

21 May 2020, 11:08

Georgian Revenue Service: 78,000 job losses reported, 'much more' expected

According to Georgia’s Revenue Service, about 20,000 employers have reported laying off or suspending 78,000 workers since the COVID-19 outbreak began. 

According to the Revenue Service 'the number should be much higher', and it has urged employers to report staff losses in a timely manner so that those left without an income would be compensated. 

Last month, the Georgian government promised to pay workers furloughed during the outbreak ₾200 ($63) per month for six months. According to the Ministry of Finance, this financial intervention aims to target around 350,000 people. 

The Ministry has launched an online portal for furloughed workers where they can check eligibility status and see if their former employers have already submitted the necessary documents for them. 

21 May 2020, 06:00


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

The biggest developments from yesterday

A study published on Tuesday by Georgia’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed that 16.6% of the 511 cases confirmed by 28 April were asymptomatic before their hospitalisation. The top three clinical symptoms reported were fever, generalised weakness, and a cough, according to the study. 

The Spiritual Administration of North Ossetia’s Muslims confirmed yesterday that the region’s Mufti, Khadzhimurat Gatsalov, has been hospitalised with the novel coronavirus. Mufti of Daghestan Akhmad Abdulayev and  Mufti of Karachay-Cherkessia and of all the North Caucasus Ismail Berdiyev were reportedly infected before, while Mufti of Ingushetia Abdurakhman Martazanov died due to COVID-19 complications on 11 April.

The authorities of Adygea attribute a recent spike in new cases to local residents not observing safety guidelines, citing a funeral held on 1 May in northern Adygea’s Krasnogvardeysky District as a case in point. As of yesterday, officials have confirmed 151 cases in the district — almost 29% the total in the region. Local press earlier reported that the funeral in the village of Bzhedugkhabl was attended by around 500. 

The 64 new confirmed cases reported yesterday was the highest daily rise in numbers in Adygea so far. Officials said they had put several settlements in Krasnogvardeysky under lockdown. 

Patients and doctors in Stavropol Krai hospital quarantined the next 2 weeks after two patients were diagnosed with COVID-19. The two patients, who sought emergency cardiological care several days ago, later developed symptoms of a respiratory illness. They have been transferred to other medical facilities.

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