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Coronavirus live updates | ‘Highly likely that there might be a precedent of domestic transmission’

28 March 2020
Tbilisi Metro. Photo: Dominik Cagara/OC Media.

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28 Mar 2020, 21:59

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

28 Mar 2020, 21:57

Suspension of tourism in Krasnodar Krai

The Governor of the Krasnodar Krai Veniamin Kondratyev has ordered the suspension of reservations and check-ins of tourists to hotels and boarding houses.

The main Russian tour operator ‘Biblio-Globus’ reports that all visitors are required to comply with the rules of self-isolation. Tourists who have already booked a room are offered to postpone their tours or receive a refund. The tour operator is also organising one-way flights to help their customers return home.

28 Mar 2020, 21:49

‘Highly likely that there might be a precedent of domestic transmission’

Tbilisi Metro. Photo: Dominik Cagara/OC Media.

The director of Georgia’s National Centre for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze told the Public Broadcaster that ‘it’s highly likely that there might be a precedent of domestic transmission’ of Covid-19.

Three patients have been infected through contact with as of yet unknown individuals inside of Georgia. He added that while they are almost certain that they’ll trace the source of the infection of one patient, it is also that likely they won’t be able to identify the source of infection in the case of the other two patients.

‘Somebody was infected by someone who is not identified. [This means] the infected person is roaming in the country and infecting others’, said Gamkrelidze.

28 Mar 2020, 20:56

Abkhazia bans foreign citizens, including Russians

Today the Abkhazian authorities have banned all foreign citizens, including citizens of the Russian Federation from entering Abkhazia until 20 April.

They previously tried to limit the influx of Russians entering Abkhazia by banning tourists on 25 March.

28 Mar 2020, 20:31

South Ossetia goes into quarantine

The authorities in South Ossetia have announced a ‘quarantine’ to fight the spread of the coronavirus. The quarantine was announced on 27 March and is due to last until 12 April. 

The measures being enacted include closing all places of business and sports establishments, except for grocery stores and pharmacies.

All foreign citizens, including Russians, have been banned from entering.

The authorities also obliged employers to grant paid sick leave to at-risk groups, including pregnant women and those with pre-existing medical conditions, who they said had the right to self-isolate at home.

Read the full story: South Ossetia goes into quarantine.

28 Mar 2020, 20:30

First recovery in Krasnodar Krai

The 62-year-old from the Primorsko-Akhtarsky settlement was discharged from hospital today. He is suspected of having contracted the virus on a trip to Italy. He had been in isolation since 10 March.

He is the first recorded recovery from Covid-19 in Krasnodar Krai.

28 Mar 2020, 20:17

Prevention measures toughened in Karachay-Cherkessia

The head of Karachay-Cherkessia, Rashid Temrezov, has issued a decree on the temporary suspension of all mass events in the region until further notice.

Residents of the republic over the age of 65 are required to self-isolate.

From 28 March to 5 April, restaurants and cafes are temporarily closed, with the exception of delivery services. Resorts, hotels, tanning salons, and spas are also closed. Dental services, with the exception of emergency care, and all shops, with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies, are closed too.

Those entering the republic by passenger transport have their temperature measured remotely, and if necessary, are examined by a doctor.

There are no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the republic.

28 Mar 2020, 17:36

Georgian authorities prepare hospital for patients from Abkhazia

Rukhi hospital. Image via 1tv.ge.

According to Georgian authorities, they have prepared a multi-profile hospital in the village of Rukhi, a couple of kilometres from Abkhazia, with 25 beds and 11 ventilators for potential coronavirus patients from Abkhazia.

They pledged to have the 100-bed hospital ready ‘within days’ for ‘Georgian citizens on both sides of the occupation line’. 

Rukhi hospital has been a part of Georgian government’s efforts to provide healthcare services to residents of Abkhazia, primarily in its eastmost Gali District, where the majority of residents are ethnic Georgians. 

Abkhazian authorities closed the ‘border with Georgia’ on 14 March.

28 Mar 2020, 17:29

Day of the Balkar People’s Revival celebrations in Kabardino-Balkaria postponed

Public celebrations on the Day of the Balkar People’s Revival, a holiday dedicated to the return of the Balkar people after 13 years in exile following Stalin's deportation of the nationality to Central Asia, initially scheduled for today, have been postponed indefinitely, Kabardino-Balkaria Head Kazbek Kokov wrote on his Instagram page.

28 Mar 2020, 17:12

Azerbaijani MPs test negative for Covid-19

Akif Tevekkuloghlu, the spokesperson of the Azerbaijani Parliament, told Trend on Saturday that Azerbaijani MPs, who received Covid-19 tests prior to the next plenary meeting of the parliament on 30 March, have all tested negative.

28 Mar 2020, 15:57

Azerbaijan toughens special quarantine regime

Azerbaijan has announced that from tomorrow, the special quarantine regime operating in the country will be toughened.

Azerbaijan introduced a special quarantine regime on 24 March and it is set to last until 20 April.

According to the new measures, all inter-district and inter-city transport will be banned across the country, excluding ambulances, emergency services, agricultural traffic, social services, and lorries. Traffic within the cities of Baku and Sumgait and Absheron District will remain as normal.

The Baku Metro will work only 5 hours per day, from 07:00–09:00 in the morning and from 17:00–20:00 in the evening.

All shops and public eateries will be closed, except for supermarkets, grocery stores, and pharmacies.

Shops and restaurants will still be allowed to operate home delivery services.

All public parks and recreational areas will also close.

The Baku Transport Agency also called on passengers on buses to keep a  safe distance from each other and has placed information about this on seats. 

A bus in Baku. Photo: BTA.

28 Mar 2020, 15:30

Eight new cases confirmed in Krasnodar Krai

Eight new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the Krasnodar Krai, according to the local authorities, bringing the total to 17.

All of them have been hospitalised and are undergoing treatment.

28 Mar 2020, 15:14

Georgian police fine minibus driver

Georgian police have fined the driver of a minibus ₾3,000 ($900) for transporting people from Tbilisi to Kakheti. 

The authorities announced a ban on minibuses on 18 March, extending the ban to all inter-city public transport on 24 March.

Minibuses at the Didube bus stop on 18 March. Photo: Tamuna Chkareuli/OC Media.

According to the Interior Ministry, six other people were fined today for violating self-isolation rules. All of them were  forcibly quarantined. 

The fines came in after Georgia declared a state of emergency on 21 March. The state of emergency is set to expire on 21 April.

28 Mar 2020, 15:00

US commits $3.9 million in humanitarian assistance to South Caucasus 

The US State Department has announced that it will provide an initial $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to up to 64 of the most at-risk countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

Armenia and Georgia will receive $1.1 million each while Azerbaijan will receive $1.7 million. 

According to the State Department, the assistance ‘will prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more.’

28 Mar 2020, 14:50

Water outages in Kabardino-Balkaria affect medical facilities

Residents of the town of Baksan and surrounding villages in Kabardino-Balkaria have complained that their water supplies are being cut off daily from 13:00–18:00.

According to Region Online, people are concerned that the outages also affect medical facilities.

The area has long suffered from issues with water supplies.

Read from May 2019: Brown water flows from taps in Kabardino-Balkaria villages.

28 Mar 2020, 14:39

Chechnya starts medical mask production 

Two factories in the Republic of Chechnya will soon begin to produce medical masks. Deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya Shahid Akhmadov said the factories would produce around 4,000 masks per day.

A woman and her child shopping in Grozny. Photo: Musa Sadulayev/AP Photo.

TASS cited Akhmadov as saying that the region had also purchased an additional 1 million masks.

28 Mar 2020, 12:45

Georgians crowdfund to help pay vulnerable people’s bills

A group of Georgians have created a Facebook campaign to crowdfund money to help pay the utility bills of socially vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis. 

Beneficiaries include households with children but no social assistance, retirees living alone, low wage workers on unpaid leave, and self-employed people whose businesses are closed. 

People falling behind on their bills face the possibility of having their electricity and gas cut off. 

Members of the group, over 500 by now, have already paid the utility bills of 12 families since launching their campaign on Thursday.

28 Mar 2020, 12:38

Russian president’s representative to North Caucasus holds meeting on medical shortages

The Russian president’s representative to the North Caucasus, Yuri Chayka, has held a meeting with the working group on coordinating the North Caucasus regions to combat the coronavirus.

They discussed how to address possible shortages of nurses, doctors, and hospital beds if the number of cases increases.

Chayka also demanded that the regional leaders be as open as possible in providing information on the spread of the infection, Regnum reports.

28 Mar 2020, 11:44

Daghestan toughens anti-coronavirus measures

As of 28 March, until further notice, sporting events, concerts, and other mass events are prohibited in Daghestan. 

Exhibitions, educational and promotional events that require the presence of people will be prohibited between 30 March to 5 April.

Cafes, restaurants, banquet rooms, cinemas, entertainment centres, libraries, beauty salons and similar services, will be closed for the same period. Shops, with the exception of pharmacies and grocery stores, will also be closed.

Selling goods through delivery, as well as providing home-based services will be permitted.

As of 28 March until 1 June, health resorts, children's health camps, and boarding houses are closed.

Religious organizations are advised to limit religious practices.

28 Mar 2020, 10:55

Adygea locks down

From 30 March, Adygea will adopt a new policy of self-isolation for all citizens over 65 years of age.

The provision of dental services will also be prohibited, except in emergencies. Cafes and restaurants as well as beauty salons, and spas will be closed. Public parks will be closed.

Pharmacies and grocery stores will remain open.

28 Mar 2020, 10:40

Cases in Armenia rise to 372

According to the Armenian Unified Infrocenter, cases of the virus in the country have risen by 43, bringing the total number who have tested positive to 372. To date, 28 have recovered. There has been one death.

28 Mar 2020, 09:00

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Saturday, 28 March. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Abkhazia declared a state of emergency, coming into force today. The measures are set to last until 20 April and will include a curfew.

Azerbaijan announced 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.

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

Georgia pledged to set fixed prices on coronavirus tests after a private medical company started selling home testing kits for ₾150 ($44).

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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