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Coronavirus live updates | Azerbaijan releases 200 prisoners

26 March 2020
Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan. Official picture
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26 Mar 2020, 22:19

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

26 Mar 2020, 21:46

Chechnya Covid-19 cases rise to 10

10 people have been infected with coronavirus in Chechnya so far, including a five-year-old child, Chechnya’s Minister of Health, Elkhan Suleymanov, has said. According to Suleymanov, seven of them show no symptoms.

So far, 590 people are under medical supervision in Chechnya.

Grozny Clinical Hospital No 4. Photo Credit: Official website

26 Mar 2020, 20:26

A two-year-old diagnosed with Covid-19 in Georgia

A two-year-old was diagnosed with coronavirus in Georgia. Kakha Ishkhneli, the director of Bochorishvili Clinic in Tbilisi said that the infected child’s health was satisfactory.

He added that the child was infected by a family member who had travelled abroad, who ‘was not a parent’.

There are 79 patients diagnosed with coronavirus in Georgia. Ten of them have already recovered. According to the Covid-19 info page of the Georgian Health Ministry, 4,346 people have been quarantined and 247 are under observation in hospitals.

26 Mar 2020, 21:10

Azerbaijan releases 200 prisoners

The Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan has announced the early release of 200 prisoners, whose cases were urgently reviewed ‘in order to protect the rights of prisoners’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry also stated that they keep disinfecting prisons, while the prisoners’ right to meet their family and friends is limited.

‘The [prison] employees and prisoners are under medical supervision, a medical examination is carried out daily, their temperature is measured. They haven’t shown any serious health problems’, the Ministry stated.

Azerbaijani human rights defender Novella Jafaroghlu, a member of the Joint Working Group on Human Rights, told Report.az that the group appealed to the Presidential Administration in connection to the pandemic.

‘It [the early release] has now been applied to prisoners with three months remaining until the end of their sentence, and then it will apply to those with six months and nine months left. The process will last until April’, she said.

Rasul Jafarov, the head of local rights group the Human Rights Club, told OC Media that there were no political prisoners among the released.

Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan. Official picture

26 Mar 2020, 18:51

17 quarantine violations by recent returnees to Krasnodar Krai

Health workers have discovered 17 cases of quarantine violations by people who recently arrived from abroad, the Gelendzhik city administration in Krasnodar Krai said. There are 9 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the region.

A quarantine violation costs a fine of ₽80,000 ($1,000), while the penalty for ‘mass infection of people’ or causing a fatal infection is up to five years in prison.

The State Duma is set to discuss stricter legal measures on 31 March.

26 Mar 2020, 18:37

Armenia registers first death from coronavirus

Armenia’s Health Ministry confirmed the country’s first death from the virus. Besides contracting the virus itself, the 72-year-old patient had developed pneumonia, multiple organ failure, and had preexisting health conditions including hypertension, arrhythmia and respiratory problems.

The patient had been in extremely critical condition since yesterday.

26 Mar 2020, 18:24

An anti-coronavirus initiative in Zugdidi attracts crowds

Photo credit: Odishi News

An initiative by the Saakashvili Presidential Library in Zugdidi to distribute hand sanitisers and masks to local residents attracted a large crowd.

According to Odishi News, a local media outlet, several policemen arrived to the scene as people started to gather en masse.

Georgia has banned gathering of more than 10 people in public spaces after the declaration of state of emergency on 21 March.

‘Several days ago I publicly addressed the Georgian government to take the stock of protective equipment against coronavirus that Saakashvili Presidential Library has and distribute them. They neglected this offer and now they are blaming the library and its volunteers’, Saakashvili wrote on Facebook.

26 Mar 2020, 18:04

Another three infected in Stavropol Krai

Over the past 24 hours, three new infections with Covid-19 have been confirmed in Stavropol Krai, the governor of the region, Vladimir Vladimirov, said. According to him, two of the three new cases are due to contact with the first patient, Irina Sannikova. Five of Sannikova’s students from Karachay–Cherkessia have also been hospitalised with a suspicion of an infection.

There are now five confirmed cases in Stavropol Krai. The fifth infected came to the region from France.

In all the new cases, the disease is asymptomatic, the governor said.

26 Mar 2020, 17:32

Bishop flies over Tbilisi in a helicopter to bless Covid-19 away

The archbishop of Bodbe, Iakob Iakobashvili flew over Tbilisi in a helicopter and blessed the city holding an icon of Virgin Mary.

According to the Patriarchate of Georgia, ‘a blessing on a larger scale throughout Georgia is planned to follow in the nearest future’.

26 Mar 2020, 17:20

Azerbaijan confirms 29 new cases and one fatality

Azerbaijani authorities have reported 29 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one fatality.

The deceased, a 59-year-old man, has recently visited Turkey. He has also suffered from chronic bronchitis.

Five people are reported to have recovered from the virus, bringing the number of active cases to 104.

According to the authorities, over 20,000 people have been tested so far in Azerbaijan.

26 Mar 2020, 16:04

Russia closes border with Azerbaijan

The Tagirkent-Kazmalyar border checkpoint in Daghestan on the border with Azerbaijan was  closed on the evening of 25 March, Caucasian Knot reports.

26 Mar 2020, 15:56

Second person who died from Covid-19 in Azerbaijan was a worker of SOCAR

SOCAR oil and gas extraction field. Photo Azertag.

The second person who died from Covid-19 in Azerbaijan was a worker of the oil and gas extraction department of Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil firm SOCAR, the workers of SOCAR reported to Meydan TV. According to them, the 63-year-old man suffered from lung disease and diabetes.

According to the worker, the work at the platforms has not been suspended due to the fact that the oil companies are engaged in continuous production, though new precautions have been put in place.

26 Mar 2020, 15:44

Azerbaijani opposition activist worried he has been infected with Covid-19 in prison

Babak Hasanov, an activist from the opposition Popular Front Party, serving a sentence at a Baku prison, suspects that he had been infected with Covid-19, his brother Javid Hasanov told the local Turan agency

‘On March 25, Babek called and said that for several days he had a high fever, sore throat and kidney pains. We are afraid that these are the symptoms of a viral infection’, he said.

Babak Hasanov was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 on charges of transferring large amounts of illegal money, money laundering, and being a member of a criminal organisation. 

According to him, there are other ill prisoners, but they have not been transferred to a medical institution and are kept together with others. 

Mehman Sadihov, the head of public relations department of the Prison Service, denied these allegations. ‘Not a single penitentiary institution has sick prisoners. The situation is being seriously controlled’, he told Turan.

26 Mar 2020, 15:34

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26 Mar 2020, 15:15

In pictures | Tbilisi in a state of emergency

Heroes Square in Tbilisi at around 7pm on Tuesday, 24 March. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

On 21 March, Georgia declared a month-long state of emergency to counter the spread of the coronavirus. The new restrictions on businesses and freedom of movement have left the streets of Tbilisi eerily empty.

See more in our photo-story: 

In pictures | Tbilisi in a state of emergency

26 Mar 2020, 14:59

First case of Covid-19 confirmed in Adygea

The first case of Covid-19 infection has been confirmed in Adygea, TASS reported.

The information was confirmed by Minister of Health Rustem Meretukov. The patient is a student from Moscow who returned to Adygea. He and all close contacts have been placed under quarantine.

26 Mar 2020, 14:40

Armenia registers first cases of Covid-19 in the army

Armenia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that three servicemembers of the Armenian Armed Forces have tested positive for Covid-19. The three are contract soldiers from the same non-combat military unit, that was not stationed at the Line of Contact. 

A family member of one of the three soldiers had tested positive for the virus and is connected to one of the main infection ‘hotspots’ in Armenia. The soldiers have been hospitalised, none have pneumonia, though one has a mild fever.

Another 32 soldiers have also been tested for the virus. The results have not yet arrived.

26 Mar 2020, 14:29

Armenian police register hundreds of violations of new movement restrictions

Armenia’s police announced that, as of this morning, 286 people have been fined for violating the new regulations on freedom of movement and self-isolation implemented on 25 March. 

The police have also stopped 685 cars with more than two passengers (the maximum number of passengers permitted in cars is two, including the driver) and made the additional passengers leave the vehicle. 

Nine public transportation drivers have received written warnings for taking on more passengers than the authorized limit.

Deputy Prime Minister and Special Commissioner Tigran Avinyan announced that the two-passenger limit on cars does not apply to children. Passengers with certain disabilities are also allowed to have their caretakers accompany them in the vehicle.

26 Mar 2020, 14:18

Armenian government to move patients with mild symptoms to hotels

Armenia is considering moving Covid-19 cases that are asymptomatic or do not require treatment to the country’s largely empty hotels in order to open up beds in hospitals.

According to Prime Minister Pashinyan, the government will be collaborating with hotels in order to move the patients. The Health Ministry will oversee and ensure that all hotels are disinfected properly.

The state of emergency authorizes the government to require compliance in case any hotels choose to resist the decision.

26 Mar 2020, 12:26

Cases in Krasnodar Krai rise to 9 

The number of Covid-19 cases confirmed in Krasnodar Krai has reached 9.

Region-Online reports that Mayor of Sochi Aleksei Kopaygorodsky, has asked tourists to cancel their visits to the city on this long weekend.

26 Mar 2020, 11:44

Georgia to subsidise prices for major food products

Inside a Fresco grocery store. Photo: Mari Nikuradze/OC Media.

The Georgian government will subsidise prices for nine major food products from 15 March to 15 May. According to the Agriculture Ministry, the government will pay the difference in price caused by the devaluation of the Georgian lari to companies which import rice, pasta, sunflower oil, flour, sugar, wheat, milk powder, buckwheat and beans. 

The government has allocated ₾10 million ($2.9 million) for this purpose.

26 Mar 2020, 10:34

Armenia’s cases rise to 290

The Armenian Unified Infocenter has announced that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has increased by 25, bringing the total number of infected to 290. So far, 18 have recovered.

According to the Health Ministry, 36 of the patients have pneumonia with two are in critical condition.

26 Mar 2020, 09:00


Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Thursday, 26 March. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Azerbaijan reported a second fatality from the coronavirus. The victim also suffered from diabetes and coronary heart disease and passed away on the day he was admitted to hospital.

Azerbaijan also moved to isolate the exclave of Nakhchivan from the rest of the country.

Chechnya confirmed its first case of the virus, in a local resident who recently returned from abroad.

In Daghestan, an MP from the local parliament was hospitalised with suspected coronavirus

Armenia shut down all inter-region public transport.

The Georgian Orthodox Church has continued to refuse to back down over the Holy Communion ceremony. Yesterday, the Church accused the media of being biased against them, arguing that Communion was attended by fewer people than were in public transport, drug stores, and grocery stores. 

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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