Coronavirus live updates | Second coronavirus fatality in Azerbaijan

25 March 2020
Photo: qafqazinfo.az

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 contact@oc-media.org

25 Mar 2020, 22:00

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

25 Mar 2020, 20:47

Georgia receives 1,000 rapid tests for Marneuli

Georgia has received 1,000 rapid tests worth $24,000 as a donation from the Sichuan-based West China Medical Centre. 

Photo via Archil Kalandia.

According to Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze, all of the tests were dispatched to Marneuli Municipality. Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities were quarantined on Monday after a woman tested positive for the coronavirus and officials failed to identify the source of the infection. 

According to Tikaradze, the new tests can diagnose COVID-19 in 90 minutes. She said Georgia would receive 200,000 tests in total, with 3,000 more due to arrive by the end of the week.

25 Mar 2020, 19:01

Second coronavirus fatality in Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijani authorities have reported that a second person has died from a COVID-19 infection. The victim also suffered from diabetes and coronary heart disease and passed away on the day he was admitted to a hospital. 

According to official numbers, there are currently 81 people with confirmed coronavirus in Azerbaijan, three in critical condition. Another 2,914 are being quarantined. 

25 Mar 2020, 18:10

North Ossetian police checking people in self-isolation

North Ossetia’s Minister of Health, Tamerlan Gogichayev, has said that people in self-isolation are being visited by district police officers in order to check that they are complying with the rules, Region Online reports.

They also quoted him as saying that checks were being carried out by phone.

 

25 Mar 2020, 18:05

No To Phobia condemns ‘wave of xenophobia’ in Georgia

The No To Phobia coalition, which unites 11 Georgian rights groups, has condemned what they say is a ‘wave of xenophobia’ sweeping Georgia.

According to the group, this followed the Georgian authorities’ decision to quarantine the municipalities of Marneuli and Bolnisi, which have majority ethnic Azerbaijani populations. 

Doctors checking for coronavirus symptoms in Kutliari, Marneuli. Photo: Radio Marneuli.

The coalition called on the media to moderate anti-Azerbaijani comments on their social media channels. They also appealed to politicians to condemn xenophobia. 

The 62-year-old woman who tested positive for the coronavirus in Marneuli is currently being treated in Tbilisi. Health authorities said they were still trying to identify the origin of her contamination.

According to the government, field hospitals set up in the region have already tested 20,000 local residents to break the chains of transmission. Only two among them were identified with suspicious symptoms. 

The Georgian government is also rushing an Azerbaijani version of their ad hoc web portal, Stopcov.ge, to better inform the public.

25 Mar 2020, 17:54

North Ossetian schools to remain partially open

North Ossetian Education Minister Lyudmila Basharina has announced that schools will remain open after the spring break for children unable to receive distance learning. However, she urged those who could stay at home to do so, COVID-19 Vladikavkaz reports. 

‘In order to prevent the spread of the disease, children should not walk outside or go to Shopping Centers. It’s important to stay home’, Basharina said.

North Ossetia’s Minister of Labour and Social Development, Anzhela Mamayeva, said that elderly people who rely on social services will receive individual assistance.

25 Mar 2020, 17:30

Kabardino-Balkaria bans indoor leisure activities 

The head of Kabardino-Balkaria, Kazbek Kokov, has issued a decree banning all indoor leisure activities involving more than 50 people. These include cultural, recreational, sports, and educational activities.

Leisure activities have also been suspended at all places of business (shopping and entertainment centres), regardless of the number of participants.

25 Mar 2020, 17:24

Kabardino-Balkaria urges caution on public transport

The Ministry of Transport of Kabardino-Balkaria has urged passengers to wear rubber gloves and masks on public transport and to try to avoid rush hour.

25 Mar 2020, 15:48

Abkhazia toughens anti-coronavirus measures

Following a presidential vote on Sunday, acting Abkhazian President Valeriy Bganba has toughened restrictions to prevent a coronavirus outbreak.

The measures include banning tourists from entering Abkhazia, closing recreational and beauty establishments from today, and banning public transport (except taxis), food establishments, and open markets from 27 March-7 April.

An Information poster about COVID-19 in Abkhazian. Image via Abkhazian State Television.

The inauguration of president-elect Aslan Bzhaniya is slated for 23 April. 

 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.

25 Mar 2020, 15:23

Azerbaijan prolongs border closure with Iran

The Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers has announced that Azerbaijan is prolonging the border closure with Iran until 20 April.

25 Mar 2020, 15:21

Azerbaijan to produce medical masks

Photo: qafqazinfo.az

Ibrahim Mammadov, the chief spokesperson of the Cabinet of Ministers, announced on Tuesday night that Azerbaijan was to start producing medical masks by the end of March. 

He said that initially, around 90,000-100,000 masks would be produced per day gradually increasing to 200,000. 

He said that additional masks would also be imported. 

25 Mar 2020, 15:16

Daghestani MP hospitalised with suspected coronavirus

An MP from Daghestan’s parliament has been hospitalised in the Makhachkala Hospital of Infectious Diseases with suspected coronavirus

Timur Gusayev said that he had the flu but decided to get tested for the coronavirus as a precaution. He was last abroad in 2018. 

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health of Daghestan told OC Media that a diagnosis of coronavirus had not been confirmed so far.

25 Mar 2020, 15:13

SOCAR prolongs shifts of offshore workers until 20 April 

The Azerbaijani Government has announced that offshore workers on the Neft Dashlari oil platforms will stay on shift until 20 April but will receive higher wages. 

Ibrahim Mammadov, the chief spokesperson for the Cabinet of Ministers, said on TV show Digget Merkezi (attention centre) that the workers had agreed to the prolongation of their shifts ‘not to endanger their families and colleagues’.

Photo: SOCAR

On 19 March, Mirvari Gahramanli, the head of the Committee for the Protection of Oilmen’s Rights, a Baku based NGO, reported that workers sent to the platforms 10 days earlier would not be relieved until 11 April — more than a month — and would have to continue to work. 

‘Staying at work for more than a month, working twice as long as normal [per day], staying away from their families will have a significant impact on their psychosocial condition and health’, she said.

SOCAR spokesperson Ibrahim Ahmedov told 1news that day that this was ‘a necessary measure’. 

[Read more on OC Media: Workers stranded on offshore oil rigs in Azerbaijan due to COVID-19]

25 Mar 2020, 15:06

Azerbaijan cuts off Nakhchivan 

Azerbaijan has taken measures to isolate the exclave of Nakhchivan.

All internal flights to and from the exclave have been halted. Foreign citizens have been banned from entering.

Photo: Apa.az

Vehicles have been banned from entering and exiting except for those transporting goods, which will be disinfected. 

Azerbaijani citizens entering or leaving Nakhchivan will undergo medical examinations. 

25 Mar 2020, 14:49

Kabardino-Balkaria confirms two more cases

Another 2 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Kabardino-Balkaria, bringing the total in the republic to four.

25 Mar 2020, 14:43

Georgian Orthodox Church attacks ‘media bias’

The Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church has accused the media of being biased against them. 

In a statement today, the Church said that there was a disproportionate focus on the weekly Holy Communion ceremonies as a risk for the spread of the coronavirus. They said communion was being attended by fewer people than there were in public transport, drug store, and food shops. 

Kashueti Cathedral. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

The Patriarchate accused the media of ‘preparing public opinion to blame the Church’ if the epidemiological situation deteriorates. 

The Patriarchate insisted that they are following safety instructions from the authorities, including calling on parishioners to keep a 2-metre distance from each other inside churches and 1.5 metres outside, and offering to send priests to visit parishioners at home. 

However, the administrative body of the Georgian Orthodox Church reiterated that banning people from receiving Holy Communion from the church was impermissible and would constitute a ‘crime before God’. 

The Georgian health authorities have said that some church practices, including using a common spoon to sip wine during Communion, were risky.

25 Mar 2020, 14:27

Second Coronavirus case confirmed in Stavropol Krai

A second case of Coronavirus has been confirmed in Stavropol Krai.

‘We have completed screenings of people who have been in contact with the sick’, the head of the region, Vladimir Vladimirov, said on his Instagram page.

‘Of the 10 primary tests, only two were confirmed. Repeat analysis will be done at the end of the incubation period’, he added.

25 Mar 2020, 12:39

Screenshot from the app website.

Armenia launches coronavirus app 

Armenia’s government has launched a new app to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country. 

 

The app includes a questionnaire (near 15 questions) about the users’ current health. Based on the answers, epidemiologists will be able to identify possible infected citizens and decide if further action is necessary. 

The app will soon be available on the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Meanwhile, the questionnaire can be filled out online through the app’s website.

25 Mar 2020, 12:37

Armenia halts inter-regional transport

The State Commission on the State of Emergency has announced that all public transportation between Armenia’s provinces (marzes) will be halted until 31 March.

25 Mar 2020, 11:44

Armenian court cases may go online

The Armenian Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), a judicial oversight body, has announced that all court cases could take place remotely online (with the consent of participants). 

The SJC is also encouraging judges to postpone cases unless they are urgent.

25 Mar 2020, 11:40

Utility companies in Nalchik warn elderly people to stay at home

The Nalchik city administration has asked utility companies to warn older people not to leave their homes. 

They said older people should apply to the republic’s anti-coronavirus HQ and volunteer organisations to arrange food and medicine delivery to their homes, Caucasian Knot reports.

25 Mar 2020, 11:05

Armenia cases rise to 265

According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, the country’s coronavirus cases have risen by 16, bringing the total number to 265. So far, 16 have recovered. There are no deaths.

25 Mar 2020, 11:02

Kabardino-Balkaria deploys National Guard

Region-Online reports that from today, the Russian National Guard will be on duty around the clock at the infection centre in Nalchik, where two people are currently hospitalised with confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19. 

There are 540 people in the republic in self-isolation after returning from abroad. Twenty-five people have been hospitalised with suspected coronavirus.

25 Mar 2020, 10:58

North Ossetia self isolates more returnees

Region-Online has reported that 5 residents of the Republic of North Ossetia who arrived from abroad yesterday were taken by ambulance to the hospital in Vladikavkaz. 

They were tested however the coronavirus was not confirmed and they were sent home for 14 days of self-isolation. There are 345 people in self-isolation in North Ossetia currently; no cases of coronavirus have been detected yet.

25 Mar 2020, 10:24

First confirmed case in Chechnya

The test results of one of the three residents who returned to the republic from abroad have confirmed a diagnosis of Covid-19. Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov wrote in his Telegram channel that ‘all measures have been taken to identify persons with whom he could be in contact’.

The test results for the two other residents are still unknown.

Medical worker. Photo: Ilia Pitalev/RIA News.

25 Mar 2020, 09:00

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Wednesday, 25 March. We will be bringing you the latest news on the Covid-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Armenia went into full lockdown as confirmed cases hit 249. For at least a week, much stricter restrictions on freedom of movement will be implemented. Leaving home will be allowed only for essential purposes such as shopping for groceries. Those venturing outside may be asked their purpose, asked to fill out a form, and to show their ID to authorities.

Georgia is planning to utilise quick tests for Covid-19 in the city of Marneuli, which is currently under quarantine. According to Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze, these tests identify the virus the same day as the test is taken or the day after at the latest.

In Azerbaijan, as the country has declared a ‘special quarantine regime’, opposition figures are reporting arrests and harassment. This follows a recent speech by President Ilham Aliyev, in which he referred to the country’s opposition as a ‘fifth column’. 

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

In Adygea, all mosques have been closed in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

Fierce, independent journalism

Let’s be honest, the media situation in the Caucasus is grim. Every day we are accused of ‘serving the enemy’ whoever that enemy may be. Our journalists have been harassed, arrested, beaten, and exiled. But nevertheless, we persevere. For us this is a labour of love. Unfortunately, we cannot run OC Media on love alone, journalism is expensive and funding is scarce. Our sole mission is to serve the interests of all peoples of the region. Support us today and join us in the fight for a better Caucasus.

Support Us