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Coronavirus live updates | Azerbaijan declares special quarantine regime

23 March 2020
Woman disinfects her hands. Photo: Trend.

The latest stories:

How have you been affected by the coronavirus crisis? We would like to hear from you. Get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, or email at [email protected].

23 Mar 2020, 22:00

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

23 Mar 2020, 21:42

Armenian police working with authorities to prevent spread of COVID-19

Armenian police have announced the work they have been carrying out since the end of February, when Armenia closed its border with Iran. 

The following is a summary of the report in numbers:

  • 459 cargo lorries entering Armenia from Iran have been escorted by Armenia’s police forces;
  • The police have been permanently supervising all 15 quarantine sites (including the Nork Infection Clinical Hospital and all entrances to the city of Vagharshapat);
  • The police are also supervising people in self-isolation by calling them every four hours;
  • As of 22 March, the police have overseen 115 funeral services to ensure the number of people does not exceed 20;
  • To date, police have asked 22 media outlets to take down posts about coronavirus developments in the country that contradict official information;
  • Since 20 March, the police have been implementing stricter surveillance on public transport to make sure there is no overcrowding. On 20 March alone, more than 70 cases of overcrowding in public transport were registered;
  • Several police officers have been tested for the virus, however, there is only one officer in self-isolation with his family.

23 Mar 2020, 21:39

Armenian Economy Ministry issues questionnaire to businesses

Armenia’s Ministry of Economy has developed a questionnaire in collaboration with the Business Support Office and the Investment Support Centre to try to identify issues businesses and companies are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Business owners have been asked to fill in the questionnaire and provide as much information as possible so that the government can develop effective and evidence-based measures to address these issues.

23 Mar 2020, 21:35

Azerbaijan to provide benefits  companies 

Azerbaijani Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov has announced that the government will provide benefits to companies in sectors of the economy that have been hardest hit. 

He said that they had initially identified 12 sectors, including tourism, hotels, food, entertainment, transportation, shopping centers, that would benefit.

He added that work was still underway to identify areas suffering the most from the pandemic. 

‘The state is considering the possibility of providing businesses with urgent tax benefits and holidays, and softening the conditions for lending to businesses. To this end, intensive discussions are being held with the relevant government agencies, the Central Bank and the Association of Banks of Azerbaijan’, he said. 

23 Mar 2020, 21:06

Azerbaijan declares special quarantine regime

The Azerbaijani Government has announced that from 24 March–20 April, a special quarantine regime will be established throughout the country. 

During this time: 

  • People over 65 will be prohibited from leaving their houses. Elderly people living alone will be provided with social services.
  • Traffic to and from Baku, Sumgayit and Apsheron District will be limited, excluding ambulances, emergency and rescue vehicles, and cargo lorries. 
  • Inter-district and inter-city public transport will be stopped across the country. 
  • People with special medical needs, especially women with children and elderly people, will be allowed to travel to Azerbaijan by charter flight, going through a mandatory 14–21-day quarantine. 
  • The Baku Transport Agency will arrange buses with routes between metro stations from 06:00–22:00. Passengers are advised to minimise the use of the subway and to use surface transport.
  • Gathering in groups of more than 10 people in public places, including the streets, parks, and anywhere else will be forbidden.
  • People are recommended to keep a 2-meter distance between each other.
  • The opening hours of restaurants and cafes will be limited to 12:00–15:00 with unlimited access to home delivery and online shopping. 
  • Shopping centres will be closed, excluding supermarkets, grocery stores, and pharmacies working within them. 
  • supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other vital facilities operate as usual. 
  • The Ministry of Internal Affairs will monitor the implementation of the special quarantine regime. 

The Hotline for emergency calls throughout the country is 103 or 15-42.

23 Mar 2020, 18:23

Ambulances patrol Makhachkala

Ambulances in are patrolling the streets of the Daghestani capital Makhachkala informing the public about safety measures to take to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

They are urging people to wash their hands more often with soap, to limit visits to crowded places, and if they develop a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, not to self-medicate but consult a doctor. 

Video: Saida Vagabova/OC Media

23 Mar 2020, 17:35

Weddings and funerals banned in Georgia

Weddings, funerals, and similar events have been banned in Georgia, according to a presidential decree published on 23 March. 

The right of assembly and manifestation has also been restricted. Restrictions prohibiting gatherings of ten or more people in closed or open areas do not apply to medical facilities, public facilities, law enforcement, public transport, and construction and infrastructure projects.

A construction site in Tbilisi on 21 March 2020. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

23 Mar 2020, 17:33

North Ossetian universities switch to distance learning

Telegram channel COVID-19 Vladikavkaz reports that, according to the Deputy Minister of Education of North Ossetia, Alan Alikov, all 7 universities in North Ossetia and all secondary specialised educational institutions have switched from today to distance learning.

23 Mar 2020, 17:31

Daghestan quarantines 23 pupils

The Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing in Daghestan has reported that 23 school students have been placed in 14 days of self-isolation. They along with their teacher had returned from the UK. 

None have shown any symptoms of the disease.

23 Mar 2020, 17:28

Azerbaijan postpones Grand Prix 

The 2019 Baku Grand Prix. Photo: formula1.com

The Baku City Circuit has announced that the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, planned for 5–7 June, will be postponed. 

They said they would continue to ‘follow the situation’ to announce a new race date for the 2020 season. 

All tickets already sold would be valid for the new date, they said. 


23 Mar 2020, 16:55

Azerbaijan confirms seven more cases

Azerbaijan has reported that seven more people have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Azerbaijan has confirmed a total of 72 cases so far; 10 have recovered and there has been one fatality.

23 Mar 2020, 16:24

Armenian parliament passes quarantine violations bill 

Armenia’s parliament, the National Assembly, has passed in its second and final hearing a bill introducing administrative and criminal liability for those who break quarantine, self-isolation, or other restrictions on free movement during the state of emergency. 

Fines for violating the rules range from ֏20.4 million–֏47.6 million ($41,000–$97,000).

Violators will also face imprisonment of up to two years, or two to four years if their violation results in someone’s death.

23 Mar 2020, 16:00

Georgia postpones start of school again

Georgia has postponed the restarting of schools and universities until at least 21 April, the day the state of emergency is due to end. Schools and universities were previously postponed until 3 April.

An empty classroom in Adjara. Photo Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

In a statement published today, the government has prohibited all kinds of training, conference, and seminar, except for remote ones. 

All cultural events both in closed or open areas, including concerts, plays, exhibitions, masterclasses, etc. are also banned. Sports events, competitions, sports training, and related events are also banned, except for remote ones.

23 Mar 2020, 15:37

Armenian government emphasises importance of agricultural during the coronavirus

During a Facebook live last night, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan emphasised the importance of the agricultural sector in the country, noting that especially as the spring planting season approaches, the government has to ensure agricultural activity and development.

According to Pashinyan, offset loans will be provided for all agricultural development projects. 

Agriculture was identified as a sector where employment was possible while still maintaining social distancing protocols.

23 Mar 2020, 15:30

Daghestan quarantines two with suspected coronavirus

The Ministry of Health of Daghestan has reported that two people crossing the Azerbaijani border with a high body temperature and suspected coronavirus will be delivered to the Central Hospital of Derbent. Both patients will be isolated in separate rooms.

The Izberbash College in Daghestan has also begun producing medical masks since the masks are no longer available in pharmacies.

A lack of medical masks is an acute problem throughout the North Caucasus. In Ingushetia and Karachay-Cherkessia, small-scale manufacturing of masks has already begun. 

North Ossetia has announced they are ready to begin producing masks.


23 Mar 2020, 15:07

Georgia announces emergency flight schedules 

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani has announced scheduled flights for the next two weeks to evacuate citizens of Georgia from abroad and allow foreigners to return to their countries. He said that the price of tickets would not exceed €199.

23 March — Tbilisi-Berlin-Tbilisi 

24 March — Greece (not specified)-Tbilisi

26 March — Tbilisi-Vienna-Tbilisi 

31 March — Tbilisi-Amsterdam-Tbilisi

3 April — Tbilisi-Warsaw-Tbilisi 

7 April — Tbilisi-Athens-Tbilisi 

10 April — Tbilisi-Larnaca-Tbilisi

23 Mar 2020, 15:05

Armenia gives details on economic assistance package

This morning, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan explained the first in a planned series of measures to be implemented by the state to ease the economic fallout of the coronavirus. 

According to Pashinyan, the goal of the assistance package is to mitigate the current liquidity risks of companies in Armenia. Assistance will be provided through co-financing, refinancing and interest rate subsidies on loans from banks and licensed credit companies in Armenia.

23 Mar 2020, 12:56

Georgia halts all intercity public transport

Khashuri station. Photo: Mariam Nikradze/OC Media.

All intercity public transportation will be halted in Georgia as of 00:00 tomorrow. 

The decision comes after the domestic spread of the coronavirus was confirmed and two municipalities were quarantined early Monday. It includes busses and railway connections.

23 Mar 2020, 12:53

Georgia puts further limits on Armenian border

Georgia’s Interdepartmental Organisation Council has decided that only the Sadakhlo border crossing between Armenia and Georgia will remain open for Armenian and Georgian citizens returning to their respective countries.

All Armenian-Georgian border checkpoints are open for cargo transportation.

23 Mar 2020, 12:50

Armenia announced new travel bans for foreigners

Armenia’s Special Commission for the State of Emergency has expanded its list of highly affected countries, the citizens of whic or those who have been to those states in the last 14 days, are banned from entering Armenia (with the exception of representatives of diplomatic missions, consulates and international organisations and their family members). 

The country list includes the United States, Australia, EU member states, Turkey, Israel, Iran, Canada, Korea, Japan, the UK, Norway, Switzerland, China, Russia, and Georgia.

23 Mar 2020, 11:32

Two more recovered Georgians discharged 

Two Georgian patients were discharged from the hospital on Sunday, according to Marina Ezugbaia, the director of the Hospital of Infectious Diseases. 

She said that five people had tested negative for the virus, but that three were still being treated for pneumonia.  

Five patients have previously diagnosed with coronavirus have been discharged from hospital in total, while eight people have tested negative.
Georgia has 54 confirmed cases as of now. There are 3,320 people in quarantine and 235 under inpatient monitoring.

23 Mar 2020, 11:23

Armenia cases rise to 194

According to Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, cases of the coronavirus in Armenia have increased by four in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number to 194.

Pashinyan stated during a Facebook live last night that 70%-75% of those infected are connected with the two main infection ‘hotspots’ — the city of Vagharshapat and a factory in Yerevan. 

According to the Prime Minister, health authorities seem to have stopped the spread of the virus from Vagharshapat and are now focusing on stopping the spread from the factory.

Currently, nine patients are over the age of 60, three of which are over the age of 70. 

Fourteen of the overall cases have pneumonia, six of which are in intensive care. Their condition continues to be stable.

Pashinyan also stated that in order to avoid the elderly from contracting the virus, pensions, which are traditionally handed out in cash at post offices, will be delivered to citizens by the state.

23 Mar 2020, 10:45

Field hospital created in Marneuli

The Emergency Service created a field hospital in Marneuli overnight. They also created a space where personnel will be disinfected.


The Georgian government's instructed the emergency service to organise field infrastructure in Marneuli and Bolnisi yesterday after the two municipalities were quarantined

23 Mar 2020, 10:33

Azerbaijan closes shopping centres for one month

The coronavirus headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers has announced that from 23 March, large shopping centres will be closed for one month, excluding grocery stores and pharmacies working inside them.

23 Mar 2020, 10:30

Azerbaijan threatens ‘serious measures’ against employers who lay off workers

The Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the National Organisation of Entrepreneurs (Employers) and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan have released a joint statement threatening ‘serious measures’ against employers who misuse the current situation and dismiss workers without justification.

23 Mar 2020, 10:29

Third Georgian dies in Spain of coronavirus

A third Georgian citizen, a 65-year-old man, has died in Spain of the coronavirus, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced in a briefing early Monday morning. 

A Georgian woman died in Spain on 19 March and another on 21 March. 

23 Mar 2020, 00:09

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Saturday, 23 March. We will be bringing you the latest news on the Covid-19 pandemic around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Georgia quarantined the municipalities of Marneuli and Bolnisi and put them on lockdown after a woman tested positive for the coronavirus. Health officials had failed to identify the source of the women’s infection.

Military cars heading towards Marneuli. Photo: IPN.

Georgia was hit by an internet outage, with reports from all over the country of both the networks of Magti and Silknet, the two biggest internet providers in the country, going down.

A representative of the Georgian Orthodox Church has said that, after a meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, that the requirement of not gathering in groups greater than 10, does not apply to the Georgian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch has advised parishioners to stand at a distance from each other. The practice of using a shared spoon during Holy Communion continues. 

Georgia will also double the available quarantine spaces by utilizing hotels.

One hundred and forty Armenian citizens who had been stranded at the Upper Lars checkpoint near the Russia-Georgian border since March 18 were able to return to Armenia

Hotels owned by Gilan Holding, one of the largest companies in Azerbaijan, will be used as quarantine sites. Also, restaurants, cafes and other eateries in the country will start working on a limited schedule. 

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the presidential election in Abkhazia went ahead. 

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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