Coronavirus live updates | Armenia confirms 14 more cases as the country goes on full lock-down

24 March 2020
A worker disinfects the Yerevan metro. Official photo.

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24 Mar 2020, 22:28

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

24 Mar 2020, 22:21

Azerbaijan does not require prolongation of visas 

Azerbaijani authorities have announced that all the foreign citizens who are currently staying in Azerbaijan, whose visas expire from 24 March to 30 April,  are no longer required to apply for an extension of their temporary stay in the country.

The state tax of ₼60 ($35) for 30 days, however, has not been waived. 

24 Mar 2020, 22:18

Ulema Council in Kabardino-Balkaria suspends mosque prayers

The Ulema Council, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kabardino-Balkaria, decided to suspend prayers and sermons in the republic’s mosques.

24 Mar 2020, 22:14

14 recoveries from Covid-19 in Armenia

Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan has announced that as of 21:00 there have been a total of 14 recoveries from Covid-19 in the country.

24 Mar 2020, 21:55

Students who had lectures from infected doctor go into quarantine in Karachay-Cherkessia

Five residents of Karachay-Cherkessia who had contact with the Dr Irina Sannikova, an infectious disease specialist in Stavropol Krai who herself had been infected with Covid-19, were quarantined in the infectious diseases hospital in the city of Cherkessk.

All of them are students of the Stavropol Medical Institute, and Sannikova delivered lectures to them after her arrival from Spain.

A criminal case has been launched against Sannikova. She has been accused of ‘negligence’ and ‘concealment of information about circumstances that create a danger to human life or health’.

According to the Deputy Minister of Health of Stavropol Krai, Olga Drozdetskaya, they are still awaiting the results of the tests of the 11 patients.

In total, according to the Federal Service for Observing the Defence of the Rights of Consumers and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) of the republic, 58 residents of Karachay-Cherkessia, who arrived from abroad, are currently at home and in self-isolation.

24 Mar 2020, 21:46

New anti-coronavirus measures in North Ossetia

In North Ossetia, employees of the Ministry of Transport and the Russian Federal Service for Observing Transport (Rostransnadzor) of the republic conduct preventive check-ups on public transport.

They inform drivers of minibuses and buses about the necessity to clean the inside of the vehicle with water, disinfectants and detergents every 2-3 hours.

Notrh Ossetian Minister of Health,Tamerlan Gogichaev, reported today theat 24 ventilators and 24 intensive care beds are ready at the Clinical Emergency Hospital in Vladikavkaz.

Also, a volunteer portal has been launched in the republic as part of the All-Russian campaign ‘We Are Together’ (#МыВместе). The volunteers will deliver food and essential products to the elderly and those in self-isolation. 

Those who have the requisite training and experience will provide psychological assistance online and by telephone.

24 Mar 2020, 20:30

Passenger suspected of having Covid-19 infection, arrives in North Ossetia

In North Ossetia, a morning flight from Moscow landed in Beslan with a passenger on board, who has a fever and had recently arrived from Israel.

The passenger has been placed in quarantine, under doctors’ supervision. The remaining 160 passengers of this flight were questioned, had their temperature taken and were sent into self-isolation.

The passenger has been tested for Covid-19, and the authorities are awaiting results, the official telegram channel of the North Ossetian government ‘COVID-19 Vladikavkaz’ reports.

24 Mar 2020, 20:06

Armenia confirms 14 more cases as the country goes on full lock-down

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has announced that Armenia’s number of coronavirus infections has risen by 14, bringing the total number to 249.

One patient, a 77-year-old, is in critical condition. There are eleven patients over the age of 65 and five over the age of 70. There are 30 cases of pneumonia. Six have recovered, four of them today.

Starting today, for at least a week, much stricter restrictions on freedom of movement will be implemented in Armenia, with people allowed to leave home only for essential purposes. Those venturing outside may be asked their purpose, asked to fill out a form, and to show their ID to authorities. 

Currently, six of Armenia’s ten provinces, in addition to the capital, Yerevan, have registered cases of the virus.

24 Mar 2020, 18:39

450 under self-isolation in Daghestan, new ‘Situation Centre’ created

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Dagestan reports that as of today 450 residents of Dagestan are self-isolating at their homes for 14 days. They arrived in Dagestan from countries and regions where cases of Covid-19 were detected.

In order to prevent the import and spread of coronavirus infection in Dagestan a Situation Centre has been created, where all the information on the current Covid-19 outbreak will be collected and where information about the outbreak published in the media will be analysed. 

There are plans to create similar Situation Centres in every municipality in Daghestan.

24 Mar 2020, 18:29

No product shortage Armenian authorities claim

Armenia’s State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competitiveness gave a press conference today to speak about the availability of food and other essential products in the country. The Commission stated that there is currently no shortage of these products and that imports are entering the country as scheduled.

24 Mar 2020, 18:27

All mosques closed in Adygea

The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Republic of Adygea announced the complete closure of all mosques in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The closures are to last until 20 April 2020.

24 Mar 2020, 17:36

Georgia to use quick tests in Marneuli 

Georgia is expecting quick tests for Covid-19 from China to arrive today. According to Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze, these tests identify the virus the same day as the test or the day after.

She added that the tests will be used in the city of Marneuli, which is currently under quarantine due to a case of community transmission. According to Marneuli Mayor Zaur Dargali, the woman diagnosed with coronavirus in Marneuli had attended a social gathering where up to 200 people were present.

24 Mar 2020, 16:49

Armenia to forbid sacking employees with school children

Armenia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has announced their plans to amend the country’s Labour Code in order to regulate employer-employee relations during the state of emergency.

The proposed amendments are to give employers the flexibility to adjust the work schedule or working hours of their employees. These amendments also stipulate that employees with school children who are working from home or have to stay home because schools are closed, cannot be fined, have their salaries reduced, or be fired for not going to work for the duration of the state of emergency.

If it is not possible to work from the place of employment or remotely, and if the employee has paid vacation days, then they can use them during the state of emergency. According to the Ministry, this would lighten the employer’s financial burden and allow them to return to work in full capacity after the state of emergency is lifted.

The Helsinki Citizens Assembly’s Vanadzor Office has opened a hotline for citizens whose rights in their workplace have been violated.

The Armenian Labour Code. Photo credit: 168.am

24 Mar 2020, 16:24

Kabardino-Balkaria quarantines 158 travellers

158 people who returned from abroad are under an obligatory self-quarantine for 14 days.

Another 18 people have been received at the Centre for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases in Nalchik, the capital of the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria — mostly the ones who were in contact with the two infected persons.

Kabardino-Balkaria’s Ministry of Health has warned that violators of the epidemiological rules face a fine of up to ₽80,000 ($1,000).

A hospital in Nalchik. Photo credit: Vesti

24 Mar 2020, 15:38

Azerbaijani health workers over 65 to continue working

Health workers over 65 years old will continue performing their duties, Viktor Gasimov, Azerbaijan’s deputy health minister, said during the Monday briefing.

Azerbaijan has introduced a special quarantine regime in response to the epidemic. The measures include a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people and prohibiting people over 65 years old from leaving home.

A hospital in Baku. Photo credit: Aznews

24 Mar 2020, 15:25

Georgian mass gatherings ban applies to ‘ceremonies’ too, government clarifies

The Georgian government has confirmed that the state of emergency restriction on public gatherings of more than 10 people applies to practising ‘ceremonies’ as well.

The introduction of the ban was met with scepticism by some church-goers and the Georgian Orthodox Church, which refused to comply. On Sunday, dozens of church-goers were reported participating in the liturgy. Police were called to Tbilisi’s main Holy Trinity Cathedral. Despite violations being documented by the media, the police announced that they found no violations.

Worshippers, including young children, gathering inside Tbilisi’s Sioni Cathedral on 21 March after the state of emergency was announced. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Georgian Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze announced that planned surgeries would be postponed for four months.

‘Of course, this does not apply to emergency cases’, said Tikaradze.

₾5 million ($1.5 million) was accumulated through donations by businesses and individuals to combat the epidemic.

The StopCov fund was created under the Georgian Business Ombudsman on the prime minister’s orders.

Georgian Public Broadcaster’s Channel 2 will air lessons for pupils as schools may be closed even after 21 April, PM Giorgi Gakharia announced on Tuesday. He argued that not all pupils have internet access and the TV would make distance learning more accomplishable.

24 Mar 2020, 15:03

Azerbaijan–Georgia border to be closed until 20 April

The Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers announced that the closure of the Azerbaijan-Georgia border is being prolonged until 20 April, with the exception of a transit corridor for cargo transportation.

The Red Bridge checkpoint between Azerbaijan and Georgia (Photo credit: xeberoxu.az)

24 Mar 2020, 14:14

Chechen police cracks down on increased food prices

Yesterday, by order of the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, security forces raided the marketplaces in the capital, Grozny, demanding sellers to lower increased food prices.

Photo: Grozny’s central marketplace in 2018. Credit: Dominik K Cagara/OC Media
In Grozny, all restaurants and cafés have been closed until April 12. Weddings and other mass celebrations are also prohibited.
 
The Ministry of Health of Chechnya said they suspected three residents of Chechnya, arriving from Turkey, had coronavirus. Their tests were sent to the laboratory in Novosibirsk.

24 Mar 2020, 11:13

Number of infected hits 66 in Georgia

The number of those who tested positive for Covid-19 has reached 66 in Georgia. According to official portal Stopcov.ge, currently 3,320 people are under quarantine and further 235 are under supervision in the hospitals. So far, 8 patients have recovered.

According to Marina Ezugbaia, the director of Tbilisi Infections Hospital, the five new infected patients have arrived from the United States.

‘All 5 patients come from the US cluster. Since their arrival, they’ve been self-isolating’, said Ezugbaia.

24 Mar 2020, 10:49

Armenia’s cases rise to 235

In a Facebook live last night, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan confirmed that there are 41 new cases of the coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number of infected to 235.

There are two new major cases — one in a factory in the Kotayk region, and another one in a factory in the Erebuni district of Yerevan.

Of the 235 cases, 26 have pneumonia, and six are in intensive care. Pashinyan stated that the government will implement stricter measures.

For a week starting today, certain kinds of construction work, textile production companies and all cafés and restaurants will be prohibited from operating (with the exception of deliveries). Grocery stores will continue to remain open, the production of food, drinks, tobacco, sanitary hygienic and daily-use paper production will continue.

Today, around 50–70 people that have completed their 14-day quarantine will be tested for the virus. If the tests come back negative they will be able to return home.

24 Mar 2020, 10:49

Baku shopping centre shopkeepers demand rent waiver

On Monday evening, the shopkeepers of Sadarak shopping centre, one of the largest wholesale and retail shops in Baku, protested in demand of a temporary went waiver.

One of them told the local Turan News Agency that they are still required to pay rent despite the sharp decrease in the number of customers or even the closure of some shops.

Sadarak’s management met the protesters and promised that they wouldn’t be charged starting 15 March.

Sadarak Shopping Centre/Wikimedia

24 Mar 2020, 09:00

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Tuesday, 24 March. We will be bringing you the latest news on the Covid-19 pandemic around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Azerbaijan introduced a special quarantine regime throughout the country from 24 March–20 April. The measure includes a raft of measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus, including a ban on gatherings of more 10 people and prohibiting people over 65 from leaving their homes.

Georgia shut down all intercity public transportation from today. The decision came after the domestic spread of the coronavirus was confirmed and two municipalities were quarantined early Monday. It includes busses and railway connections.

Armenia introduced tough new penalties for violating quarantine, self-isolation, or other restrictions on movement.

Fines for violating the rules range from ֏20.4 million–֏47.6 million ($41,000–$97,000). Violators could also face imprisonment of up to two years, or two to four years if their violation results in someone’s death.

Daghestan quarantined two people with suspected coronavirus. The two people registered a high body temperature when crossing the Azerbaijani border and were delivered to the Central Hospital of Derbent.

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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