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Coronavirus live updates | Protest in Georgia’s Marneuli over lockdown measures

22 April 2020
Image via Radio Marneuli.

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22 Apr 2020, 20:27

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

22 Apr 2020, 20:20

You can read our full write-up of today’s protest in Marneuli: Farmers in Georiga’s Marneuli protest lockdown measures.

22 Apr 2020, 19:00

Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation launches second stage of assistance programme

The Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation has announced it is beginning the second stage of assistance to poor residents, allocating ₽260 million ($3.4 million) for this.

Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov, whose father the foundation is named after, said that some of the money had come from the mandatory Muslim charitable payments of zakat.

‘I previously turned to businessmen and those who have a good income, at this difficult time, to fulfil the duty that Islam imposes on us Muslims — the payment of zakat. Many responded to my call. I sincerely thank them for this’, Kadyrov wrote on social network Vkontakte.

He wrote that over 16,800 families would receive financial support with the amount of assistance depending on the number of family members and their financial situation.

‘In addition, food campaigns continue in all cities and regions of [Chechnya]’, Kadyrov writes.

According to Kadyrov, the foundation provides basic foodstuffs to low-income residents of Chechnya and families in two-week quarantine.

22 Apr 2020, 18:21

Mufti of Karachay-Cherkessia urges self-isolation 

The Mufti of Karachay-Cherkessia, Ismail-Khadzhi Berdiyev, has called on the Muslims of the region to continue to self-isolate during Ramadan. 

He said that collective prayers in mosques were temporarily cancelled and urged believers to pray at home with their families.

22 Apr 2020, 18:06

Armenia’s agricultural assistance programme grows 

Armenia’s Ministry of Economy has reported they have received 13,000 applications for the state agricultural assistance package. 

Between 1 April and 20 April, over 2,940 subsidised loans worth over ֏4.34 billion ($9 million) were approved as part of the programme. 

According to the ministry, this is almost double the total number of loans approved to Armenia’s agricultural sector during the first quarter of 2020 which they said was 1,638 loans worth ֏6.8 billion ($14 million). 

Agricultural assistance programmes are being introduced by the government as well as several international organisations, including the World Bank’s Community Agricultural Resource Management and Competitiveness Projects (worth over $1 million), the European Union’s Green Agricultural Initiative (worth $500,000), UNDP, and the Austrian Development Agency. 

22 Apr 2020, 17:21

Georgian parliament votes to extend state of emergency

Georgia’s parliament has voted 96 in favour and 10 against to prolong the state of emergency until 22 May. 

Opposition parties the United National Movement and European Georgia had announced they would support the bill only if the government presented a scheme to support citizens and the local economy during the period of restrictions. 

According to the government, they will present an anti-crisis plan on Friday.

22 Apr 2020, 15:25

Bidzina Ivanishvili makes first appearance since state of emergency in TikTok handshake

The chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has appeared for the first time since a state of emergency was declared.

In a video published on his son Bera Ivanishvili’s TikTok account, the father and son are seen performing an elaborate ‘secret handshake’.

@bera_nanukaSecret handshake with my father 😄🤝♬ original sound - bera_nanuka


Ivanishvili was harshly criticised for the tone of the appearance by several opposition politicians in parliament while ruling party MPs spoke in his defence.

‘We see Ivanishvili’s family performing an encouraging hip-hop or rap style haka while society needs much more’, Salome Samadashvili, an MP from the opposition United National Movement Party said.

The head of parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Sopo Kiladze, responded by saying that Ivanishvili’s video was very positive and fun.

‘You have used this video, which was a very positive, very correct move and has entertained a lot of people, to curse him’, said Kiladze. 

22 Apr 2020, 14:37

Farmers protest in quarantined Marneuli

Dozens of farmers are holding a protest in Georgia’s Marneuli Municipality to protest restrictions imposed by the Georgian government. The protesters say they are unable to sell their agricultural products as a result.

Image via Radio Marneuli.

Marneuli Municipality has been in lockdown since 23 March in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Protesters told Radio Marneuli that they had tonnes of cucumbers and other agricultural products which they have been unable to sell. 

They have blocked roads and are not allowing lorries to pass.

Live footage via Radio Marneuli.

Local residents have said they are in a dire economic situation because of the restrictions. The government is to present an economic assistance plan on Friday.

Protesters gathered despite a ban on gatherings of more than 3 people. The fine for violating this rule, stands at ₾3,000 ($950) for individuals and ₾15,000 ($4,800) for legal entities.

22 Apr 2020, 12:44

North Ossetian court jails 13 for anti-stay-at-home protest

According to state-run Russian media, a court in North Ossetia has placed 13 participants of the 20 April protest in Vladikavkaz under administrative arrest for from 3-15 days for illegal assembly and disobeying police.

Court hearings for 56 others detained during Monday’s anti-government demonstration are still pending. 

Monday's protest. Photo: Olga Smolskaya/TASS.

On 20 April, protesters gathered in the centre of Vladikavkaz demanding the government rescind a stay-at-home order, citing a loss of income. Some protesters also cited false reports that the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax.

Read more about Monday’s protest: Police clash with anti-stay-at-home protesters in North Ossetia.

22 Apr 2020, 12:32

Georgia to reduce fines for violating state of emergency

Georgian authorities move to reduce sanctions for violating the rules of quarantine and self-isolation. 

The changes in the Administrative Code of Georgia were introduced by the head of parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, Anri Okhanashvili. 

According to the bill, the fines will be reduced from ₾3,000 ($950) to ₾2,000 ($630) for individuals and from ₾15,000 ($4,800) down to ₾10,000 ($3,200) for legal entities.

According to IPN, if passed, the law will enter into force from 2 May.

Parliament will vote today on the Government’s plea to extend the state of emergency until 22 May. President Salome Zurabishvili signed the decree on Tuesday.

22 Apr 2020, 11:05

Driving to be allowed in Georgian municipalities for three hours per day

The Georgian government will allow the use of private vehicles from 06:00-08:00 and 18:00-19:00 in the regions of Georgia. 

According to a statement from Telavi Municipality, in eastern Georgia, the exemption is important for agricultural activities and will be in effect until 27 April, when the ban on private vehicles is due to end.

‘While driving, safety measures for transportation via private vehicles must be followed (No more than 3 people allowed in a car, all of them should wear a facemask)’, the statement said.

22 Apr 2020, 09:30

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Wednesday, 22 April. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Georgia’s government plans 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.

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.

As of today, authorities in Abkhazia 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.

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