Coronavirus live updates | Georgia fines group distributing face masks 

27 March 2020
Distribution of face masks and sanatiser in Zugdidi. Photo: Odishi News.

The latest stories:

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27 Mar 2020, 22:00

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

27 Mar 2020, 20:16

Abkhazia declares state of emergency

Abkhazia’s parliament has approved a decree from the president introducing a state of emergency from Saturday.

The measures are set to last until 20 April and will include a curfew.

It is not yet known how widely the curfew will be used or which civil rights will be restricted. 

The state of emergency allows the authorities to put limits on freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, to impose a quarantine and more. 

So far, the authorities have insisted that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Abkhazia.

Read the full story: Abkhazia to enter state of emergency from Saturday.

27 Mar 2020, 20:12

Armenia’s social assistance package to target unemployed 

Armenia’s Prime Minister has announced that he had been calling random numbers to consult with the public on how to target the state’s social assistance package.

Pashinyan said that those left unemployed due to the pandemic should be the main target of the package, which the government has already decided to expand.

27 Mar 2020, 20:09

Armenia releases coronavirus map

Armenia’s National Centre for Disease Control has published an interactive map depicting the spread of the coronavirus in the country according to the provinces (marz). It will be updated regularly. 

27 Mar 2020, 20:08

Armenian banks and supermarket to provide support for retirees 

Ardshinbank and Sas supermarkets are collaborating to deliver food essentials to Arshinbank’s 870 customers who are retired and over the age of 75 in Yerevan. 

Ardshinbank will also transfer an unspecified sum to the pension accounts of their 2,400 retired customers outside of Yerevan.

27 Mar 2020, 18:46

Ingushetia shortens Friday prayers

The Ingush Muftiate is to significantly reduce the duration of Friday prayers, the Mufti of the Republic, Abdurokhman-Khadzhi Martazanov, told Interfax-Yug.

They reported that religious leaders also advised people over 60-65 and those with weak immune systems to refrain from attending mosques and social events.

Educational activities in all madrassas and mosques in the republic will be suspended for two weeks. 

Imams will also inform people of the need to reduce the duration of funerals and the number of participants in mourning events.

27 Mar 2020, 18:21

Cafe owner places disinfection dispensers around Nalchik

Disinfection dispensers have appeared in crowded areas of Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria. 

Dispenser installed at the entrance to the Atazhukin Garden city park. Photo: Zaurbek Sosruko/OC Media.

The initiative was announced as a way for ‘people passing by to sanitise their hands’ the day before on Telegram.

According to the Shadow Nalchik Telegram channel, a young man, the owner of a local cafe, is behind this civic initiative.

 

27 Mar 2020, 18:12

Sochi closes ski resorts

According to Region Online, Sochi’s ski resorts of Roza Khutor and Krasnaya Polyana will close until 1 June. 

All ski slopes, rental points, entertainment services, and other service sector facilities will close. 

Grocery stores will remain open while restaurants and cafes will be able to offer deliveries only.

27 Mar 2020, 17:38

Georgia to set price limits on commercial testing

The Georgian Health Ministry has pledged to set fixed prices on coronavirus tests after private medical company Catastrophe Centre started selling home testing kits for ₾150 ($44).

‘It will be a market price’, Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze said. 

Photo: Catastrophe Centre.

The government currently only administers tests to those health officials deem as being in a risk group, not the general public.

On 26 March, Catastrophe Centre wrote on Facebook that they had tests available for anyone who wanted to take them. 

Tikaradze said that the company was one of four the government had expressed trust in.

27 Mar 2020, 17:22

Azerbaijan quarantines regions 

Interior Ministry spokesperson Ehsan Zahidov has told Trend that entry and exit to all cities and regions of Azerbaijan was to be restricted.

Similar measures were applied to the capital Baku, the neighbouring city of Sumgait, and Absheron District on 19 March.

27 Mar 2020, 17:05

Woman with coronavirus locks herself at home in Sochi

A woman suffering from the coronavirus in Sochi has locked herself at home and refused treatment, Region Online reports. 

The woman is from Moscow and flew to the Black Sea resort from London. She was in self-isolation in the city’s Adler District awaiting her test results.

27 Mar 2020, 16:12

Kabardino–Balkaria starts face mask production

Boris Murtazov, the head of Kabardino–Balkaria’s Chereksky District, has asked the district’s House of Creativity to begin sewing reusable face masks. 

The masks will be transferred to the Central District Hospital in Kashkhatau to distribute to the local population free of charge.

27 Mar 2020, 15:59

Georgia to launch ‘fever centres’

The Georgian Government is to launch ‘fever centres’ in every region of the country to look after anyone registering an unusually high body temperature. 

The government earlier urged people who were concerned to address their family doctors instead of going to hospitals.

According to health officials, five out of 68 currently infected patients are in serious condition while 13 have recovered. See table for more information.

27 Mar 2020, 15:11

Armenian Armed Forces confirm two more coronavirus cases

Armenia’s Ministry of Defense has confirmed that two more soldiers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Yesterday, 37 soldiers were tested for the virus after three confirmed cases from the same unit. Today, only two came back positive. 

The two soldiers were previously isolated and are now hospitalised. The five infected soldiers do not have pneumonia, one has a slight fever, the remaining four have no symptoms. 

Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan visited the infected soldiers and shared a video of her visit on Facebook. 

27 Mar 2020, 14:40

Armenian banks grant credit leave

According to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Armenian banks have reviewed the loan conditions of nearly 96,800 people and 3,400 companies since 20 March. The banks have granted credit leave to the majority of these cases for several months.

The sum of these revised loans is estimated to be almost ֏200 billion ($408 million).

27 Mar 2020, 14:22

Georgia cancels contract for Chinese tests

According to Georgian Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze, Georgia has cancelled a contract with Chinese company Shenzhen Bioeasy Technology to buy 210,000 rapid tests kits for diagnosing the coronavirus after the company admitted some of them may be faulty. 

A similar problem was reported to have happened in Spain by local media. The Chinese Embassy in Spain said that the company didn't have a licence.

Unlike in Spain, according to Tikaradze, Georgia had not yet received the first batch before the contract was cancelled.

OC Media has reached out to the company for additional details.

27 Mar 2020, 13:05

Georgia allocates space for street children

The Georgian Health Ministry is allocating a temporary space for children living and working in the streets, to protect them against the coronavirus. 

According to the Health Ministry, the children will be transferred into different institutions after the quarantine period is over. 

A child sleeping on Tbilisi's night bus. Photo: Tamuna Chkareuli/OC Media.

‘We have to protect children living and working in the streets from the risks of the virus’, said Meri Maghlaperidze, director of the State Fund for the Protection and Assistance of (Statutory) Victims of Human Trafficking.

‘Because we cannot provide regular services, we are working with all vulnerable groups to adapt all services to their needs.’

27 Mar 2020, 12:51

Two-month-old infected with coronavirus in Armenia

Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan has confirmed reports in the press yesterday that a two-month-old and their mother are infected with the virus. 

Torosyan explained that when asked about the case during his press conference yesterday, he was still not made aware about the case.

According to Torosyan, the infant and mother are now hospitalised, the infant has no symptoms and the mother has had a high temperature for the past two days.

Torosyan also stated that ten patients were discharged today, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 28.

27 Mar 2020, 12:01

Daghestani MP is republic’s first confirmed case

The first case of coronavirus has been officially confirmed in Daghestan, in an MP from the local parliament.

Timur Gusayev, an MP in the People's Assembly of Daghestan, in the ambulance on his way to hospital. Photo via Gusayev’s Telegram channel.

The results were confirmed by the Anti-plague Centre in Moscow.

Timur Gusayev developed symptoms of influenza on 20 March and on the night of 23 March, he called an ambulance to get tested. A preliminary test for coronavirus gave a positive result. 

He and eight other people who had positive primary tests are currently in isolation in the Makhachkala Hospital of Infectious Diseases.

27 Mar 2020, 11:11

Georgia fines group distributing face masks 

Georgian police have fined the New Leaders Initiative (NLI), an NGO, ₾15,000 ($4,400) for violating a presidential decree banning gatherings of more than 10 people in a public space.

NLI leader Christina Pushaw being issued with the fine. Image via the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Yesterday, with support from the Saakashvili Presidential Library, NLI distributed hand sanitiser and face masks to residents of Zugdidi, which attracted a large crowd.

According to the Interior Ministry, more than 100 people gathered at the scene.

Georgia banned gatherings of more than 10 people after a state of emergency was declared on 21 March.

On Thursday, former president Mikheil Saakashvili said he had publicly addressed the government to take and distribute the stock of protective equipment against coronavirus that the Saakashvili Presidential Library had, but the offer was ignored.

‘Now they’re blaming the library and its volunteers’, Saakashvili wrote on Facebook.

27 Mar 2020, 10:46

Prime Minister of Daghestan self-isolating

The Prime Minister of Daghestan, Artyom Zdunov, is in self-isolation after returning from his family from abroad. 

According to the head of Daghestan, Vladimir Vasilyev, he will remain in self-isolation until 28 March.

27 Mar 2020, 10:37

North Caucasus urges tourists to stay away

The Ministry of Resorts and Tourism of Kabardino-Balkaria has asked tour operators to temporarily pause tours and excursions, Region Online reports. All cable cars at the foot of Elbrus will also stop working from 28 March.

The mayor of Anapa in the Krasnodar Krai asked tourists to refrain from travelling to the Balck Sea resort during the long weekend announced by the president (28 March–5 April). 

Flights between Krasnodar and Sochi, both in Krasnodar Krai, will also shut down until 5 April. The local authorities also plan to reduce rail and road passenger traffic between settlements.

27 Mar 2020, 10:20

Armenia’s cases rise to 329

The Armenian Unified Infocenter has announced that the number of coronavirus cases in Armenia has increased by 39 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected people to 329. 

To date, 18 have recovered and one has died.

27 Mar 2020, 09:30

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Friday, 27 March. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Azerbaijan announced it would release 200 prisoners early. Rasul Jafarov, the head of local rights group the Human Rights Club, told OC Media that there were no political prisoners among the released.

Armenia confirmed the first death due to the coronavirus, a 72-year-old who developed pneumonia, multiple organ failure, and had preexisting health conditions including hypertension, arrhythmia, and respiratory problems.

Caucasian Knot reported that Russia closed the border between Daghestan and Azerbaijan.

In Georgia the government announced food subsidies for companies importing staple foods, to help mitigate the impact of the devaluation of the Lari. Meanwhile, in the skies above Tbilisi, the archbishop of Bodbe, Iakob Iakobashvili flew in a helicopter and blessed the city while holding an icon of Virgin Mary. 

In Adygea the first case of Covid-19 infection was confirmed, and more cases were discovered in Chechnya, Krasnodar Krai, and Stavropol Krai.

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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