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Coronavirus live updates | Abkhazia extends anti-corona restrictions until mid-June

29 May 2020
Abkhazian Prime Minister Aleksandr Ankvab chairing a meeting of the anti-coronavirus taskforce on 28 May. Official picture.

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29 May 2020, 20:00

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

29 May 2020, 19:10

Azerbaijan to make face masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces

Azerbaijan has announced that wearing face masks will be mandatory in all enclosed public spaces.

The rules include: 

  • Public transport and taxis; 
  • Markets and indoor restaurants (except when services demand their removal);
  • Reception areas of state bodies; 
  • Enclosed areas offering any kind of customer services;
  • Open plan offices and production spaces;
  • Healthcare institutions;
  • Lines at bus stops, ticket offices, ATMs, payment terminals, or places of business;
  • And any outdoor area where it is not possible to maintain social distancing.

Penalties for violating the rule have not yet been decided.

29 May 2020, 17:44

Azerbaijan prolongs quarantine and border closure until 15 June

The Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers has announced that Azerbaijan will prolong the closure of its borders and quarantine regime until 15 June.  

The restrictions do not include freight and charter flights.

29 May 2020, 15:57

Daghestanis protest cell mast over 5G fears

Yesterday, residents of the Noviy Chirkey settlement in Daghestan’s Kizilyurt District reportedly demanded the removal of a recently installed ‘5G mast’ in their region.

Footage of what appears to be a spontaneous protest was disseminated in Russian-language media.

‘This kind of radiation, a “second Chernobyl”, is not wanted here in [Noviy] Cherkey’, one woman is heard saying in the video. 

‘They [the authorities] have renamed this, now they’re calling it a high-speed internet [mast]’, said the same woman, who also threatened to burn the mast down unless it was removed. 

A still from the video showing the mast in question.

Also yesterday, Instagram channel Kizilyurtt published a video appeal from a group of men identifying themselves as residents of Noviy Chirkey also protesting the new tower. 

Speaking on behalf of the group, one of the men said they were disappointed after District Head Magomed Shabanov, according to him, had personally promised not to go forward with erecting the mast. 

The local authorities have so far not commented on the issue or clarified the information about the mast. 

Conspiracy theories that link upcoming fifth-generation mobile telecommunications technology with health risks, including an

29 May 2020, 11:51

UNDP delivers another aid shipment to Abkhazia

Local news website Abkhazia Inform reported yesterday that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) delivered its fourth aid shipment with medical and hygiene products to the Gudauta hospital in Abkhazia.

Gudauta’s Central District Hospital is the facility where patients infected with COVID-19 — currently 11 cases according to local authorities — have been treated in Abkhazia.

Abkhazian PM Aleksandr Ankvab meeting with Louisa Vinton, UNDP Head in Georgia, on 28 May. Photo: Abkhazian Government.

The aid reportedly included 940 protective overalls, 920 medical coats, 900 pairs of nitrile gloves, 4,500 medical caps, 1,000 protective shoe covers, and 180 litres of hand sanitiser. UNDP also donated equipment for teleconferencing to the hospital.

The UN agency has reportedly promised additional medical and communication equipment to medical facilities in Abkhazia.

With financial help from USAID and the EU, a delegation including UNDP Georgia head Louisa Vinton and Silviu Domente, the Head of the WHO Georgia Office, delivered the first aid shipment as early as 17 March, three weeks before the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the region.

 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.

29 May 2020, 10:50

Armenian Health Ministry to increase bed capacity

Armenia’s Ministry of Health has announced that it is continuing to expand the intensive care bed capacity in hospitals. 

According to the ministry, 100 beds will be made available in the coming month in two of the country’s largest medical centres — the Saint Grigor the Illuminator Hospital and the Erebuni Medical Centre.

To date, there are 316 patients in critical condition, 52 in extremely critical condition, and 17 people on ventilators in Armenia.

The ministry has also acquired 500 new pulse oximeters, which monitor oxygen saturation and are used in treating COVID-19 patients, and distributed them to hospitals and clinics across the country.

The ministry also said that Yerevan and other major cities have received 24,000 protective gowns, 20,000 pairs of gloves, 14,000 three-ply face masks, 1,180 hand sanitisers, and 840 pairs of protective glasses.

Over the last week, the Ministry has also organised 15 online trainings for 2,021 employees of state clinics in the country on how to care for coronavirus patients.

29 May 2020, 10:49

Public transport is back in Georgia

All kinds of public transport have restarted in Georgia today. 

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

Wearing face masks will be mandatory with passengers not allowed to travel without wearing them.

The authorities have also banned standing in minibuses, a common occurrence in pre-pandemic Georgia. 

The government has also warned passengers that air conditioning will not be allowed to run in buses and minibuses and that windows should be opened at all times instead. 

Inter-city connections are slated to resume on 8 June.

29 May 2020, 09:00

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Friday, 29 May. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday

As the government reports a record 15 COVID-19 deaths in Armenia within 24 hours openDemocracy has revealed that a controversial health news website in the country spreading ‘incredibly dangerous’ COVID-19 misinformation was funded by US taxpayer money. 

COVID-19 misinformation has been ‘actively circulated’ in Georgia too. Conspiracy theories linking the novel coronavirus pandemic with 5G cellular technology are being spread by several Georgian online news outlets, two of which had been previously circulating disinformation coming from Russian state-run media, the Tbilisi-based Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) reports.

The authorities in Abkhazia have extended anti-coronavirus measures until 15 June, including a ban on mass public events, tourism, recreational facilities, and limitations on entry to Abkhazia except for diplomats, Russian military personnel, and freight drivers. 

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.

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