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Coronavirus live updates | Georgia's public transport to operate starting Friday

27 May 2020
An informational poster about COVID-19 on a bus in Tbilisi. Photo: Tamuna Chkareuli/OC Media.

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27 May 2020, 20:27

Chechens ‘beaten and detained’ by security forces for leaving home on Eid al-Fitr

Residents of Chechnya reported a number of detentions and beatings by security forces of men and women who left their homes on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Three women who were allegedly sharing voice messages detailing the alleged attacks were later featured in a video on a pro-government Chechen Instagram account apologising for spreading ‘false information’.

Read the full story: Chechens ‘beaten and detained’ by security forces for leaving home on Eid al-Fitr.

27 May 2020, 20:04

Georgian NCDC Chair invites Russian FM spokesperson to Lugar lab

Head of the Georgia’s Center for Disease Control and Public Health Amiran Gamkrelidze called on Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova to personally visit the Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research in Tbilisi.

Georgia's National Centre for Disease Control in Tbilisi.

On 17 April, Maria Zakharova called the Lugar Centre a part of the US 'infrastructure with dangerous biological potential developing near Russia's borders'. The statement was followed by the Ministry's statement yesterday that they were still waiting for a reply to their request to the Georgian government to visit the Lugar Centre. 

While Russia’s claims on ‘non-transparency’ of the Centre’s activities dates to before the coronavirus pandemic, disinformation watchdog groups have pointed out that Lugar lab has been recently targeted by pro-Russian media in Georgia who claimed it to be a source of the virus.

[Read more on OC Media: Analysis | Who is afraid of the Lugar Centre?]

27 May 2020, 19:31

Armenian government allocates $100,000 to provinces for socially vulnerable coronavirus cases

Armenia’s government has approved an allocation of ֏50 million ($100,000) to the country’s provinces. The allocated funds will be used to provide food and other essentials for socially vulnerable individuals who are infected with COVID-19 but are required to self-isolate at home due to either being asymptomatic or having light symptoms. 

27 May 2020, 19:27

Georgian government ‘not considering’ forgiving state of emergency fines

The Georgian government will not consider forgiving fines issued for violating the rules of the state of emergency, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has said. According to him, 9,000 such fines have been issued so far. 

‘Fines are a restraining tool, used very efficiently by the government when recommendations weren’t that effective’, he said.

‘Nobody knows when we are going to need such instruments again, therefore we cannot call on anyone to annul these fines, as this preventative measure won’t be efficient in the future.’

He added that some of the fines ‘require revision, and this will be done in the future’. However, he said, this was the prerogative of parliament. 

Fines for violating the state of emergency currently stand at ₾3,000 ($950) for an individual or ₾15,000 ($4,700) for organisations.

27 May 2020, 17:41

Armenia approves 19th assistance package

Armenia’s government approved its 19th assistance package today which will target startups and entrepreneurs with new business ideas. 

Beneficiaries will be able to take part in business training courses after which they may be eligible for loans and grants to implement their ideas.

The beneficiaries include individuals and organisations working in the regions that have had a good tax and credit history in the last year. Seventy-five per cent of the allocated funds will come in the form of a loan of up to ֏10 million ($21,000) with a maximum 8-year repayment term. The remaining 25% will be in the form of a grant.

27 May 2020, 15:02

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27 May 2020, 14:30

Armenia’s inspection bodies shut down restaurants, kindergartens remain empty

According to Armenia’s Inspection Bodies’ Coordination Bureau, during the past week, 87 restaurants were shut down and an additional 12 will most likely close today due to violations of new health and hygiene regulations. An additional 290 businesses were prohibited for operating 24 hours in order to address health violations.

Inspection bodies have also monitored kindergartens where no violations have been recorded yet. Based on their monitoring work, the attendance in over 120 kindergartens has been low — only 8.3%.

Armenia’s police have also reported that, to date, over 966 reports on administrative violations have been registered — 240 for citizens without masks and 657 for violations registered in public transportation and taxis. 

Checkpoints have also been installed on inter-regional roads to ensure that drivers are following the requirement of wearing face masks. 

27 May 2020, 12:20

No air conditioning on Georgia’s public transport

Air conditioners will be turned off in Georgia’s minibuses and buses when public transport starts operating again on Friday, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze said today. 

‘We should warn our bus drivers that under no circumstances to turn on air conditioners’, he said, adding that windows should be opened instead for good air circulation.

27 May 2020, 11:24

Public transport to restart on Friday, as Georgia moves forward reopening

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced today that public transport will start operating again on 29 May. It had been shut down since 31 March.

He added that wearing protective face masks on public transport will be obligatory. 

According to Gakharia, the government plans to restore inter-city connections on 8 June. 

The Prime Minister also said that restaurants which have outside dining areas will resume operating from 1 June, and from 8 June they will be able to seat patrons indoors. Hotels will also resume work from 8 June.  

From 1 June shopping centres, as well as indoor and outdoor markets, will also be allowed to reopen.

27 May 2020, 11:01

Ramzan Kadyrov reappears in public

Ramzan Kadyrov. Photo via official VK account of Ramzan Kadyrov.

Last night, the Telegram channel and Vkontakte account of Chechnya Head Ramzan Kadyrov and state-run local media published photos of Kadyrov chairing the anti-coronavirus task force in Grozny. 

The posts follow days of speculation in Russian media about Kadyrov’s health and the possibility of him having been infected with COVID-19 and becoming hospitalised in Moscow. Since 21 May, local government-run agencies have used only old footage while mentioning Kadyrov.

Doubts over his health strengthened on 24 May, after Kadyrov congratulated Chechens on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr without appearing on camera.

27 May 2020, 10:32


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

The biggest developments from yesterday

Georgia’s active cases are in the 4th week of decline since 3 May. The number yesterday stood at 183 active cases out of a total of 732 confirmed, with  537 recoveries. There have been 12 deaths.

The authorities of Abkhazia have allowed ‘citizens treated in neighbouring Georgia’ to return home starting yesterday. According to Chief Medical Officer Lyudmila Skorik, those returning will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

It is unclear if the measure will extend to residents of Abkhazia who the government does not acknowledge as citizens.

[Read more: Equal and more equal: Abkhazia’s passport policy]

Over half the confirmed COVID-19 patients in South Ossetia have already recovered, state-owned news agency RES quoted Deputy Chief Medical Officer Anna Gagloyeva as saying. According to her, 15 of the  22 people that have recovered were discharged in the last few days, and 14 remain in treatment.

 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.

Read the latest stories:

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