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Coronavirus live updates | Armenia to lift restrictions on freedom of movement  

4 May 2020
A cafe in Yerevan. Photo via Google Street View.

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04 May 2020, 20:12

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

04 May 2020, 19:46

‘Critical shortages‘ of protective equipment reported in Daghestan’s hospitals

Medical personnel in Daghestan are claiming that there is a critical lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and that many of them are falling ill with COVID-19 as a result.

Doctors wearing homemade masks at a Kaspiysk Central City Hostpial located in Kaspiysk, Daghestan. Credit: Kaspiysk Central City Hospital Instagram account.

‘Our entire staff works wearing homemade masks. For the sake of appearances, they handed out 200 so-called “anti-plague” suits, full of holes […] and without even shoe covers’, Artur Muradaliyev, an anesthesiologist and resuscitation specialist at the Central City Hospital in Daghestanskiye Ogni reportedly said.

Daghestan’s Health Ministry has denied any shortages.

Read the full story: ‘Critical shortages‘ of protective equipment reported in Daghestan’s hospitals.

04 May 2020, 19:01

Dozens protest unemployment in Azerbaijan’s Bilasuvar

Dozens of people in Bilasuvar, southeastern Azerbaijan, protested in front of the city’s executive authorities this morning against unemployment, social problems and hunger.

‘People are dying of starvation’, they shouted.

Several protesters attempted to break into the building but were prevented by police officers. Several injuries were reported.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Ehsan Zahidov told Turan that police officers explained the situation to the protesters after which they left the scene.

‘Only one citizen who resisted the police was detained. He injured a police officer. In this regard, an investigation is underway. None of the citizens were injured’, he said.

04 May 2020, 18:57

Armenia’s Health Ministry says it  is carrying out enough PCR tests

Armenia’s Health Ministry announced today that, to date, they have carried out 25,000 PCR tests. Yesterday, a total of 765 tests were conducted, 121 of which came back positive.

According to the ministry, in terms of the number of tests done in relation to a confirmed case, Armenia’s ranking is similar to that of Japan and Italy, which ‘is not a bad ranking.’

The ministry also announced that the country would soon be able to conduct more tests.

According to the Molecular Biological Institute of Armenia, the Institute will start producing their own PCR tests once they receive the last batch of necessary materials for the tests in mid-May.

04 May 2020, 17:46

Three ‘recovered’ patients test positive in Armenia 

Armenia’s Health Ministry confirmed today that three patients that had previously been classed as ‘recovered’ and had tested negative for COVID-19 have again tested positive two weeks after being discharged. The patients have been isolated.

According to the ministry, the three were not re-infected but inactive particles of the virus had remained within the body’s tissue.

The ministry said that PCR tests can detect these particles 2-3 months after the initial infection. They said similar cases had been reported in China and South Korea.

04 May 2020, 17:41

Daghestan closes off Khasavyurt

Entry and exit into the city of Khasavyurt, central Daghestan, was prohibited from yesterday evening, the city administration has reported.

In addition, driving inside the city has been prohibited except for emergency vehicles.

Yesterday the authorities confirmed 10 new cases of the virus within the city and nine in the wider district.

04 May 2020, 16:00

Armenia seeing an increase in critical coronavirus cases

Armenia’s Health Ministry has announced that there has been a surge in the number of new cases, especially critical cases, most of which are connected to the emergence of several new infection hubs.

Currently, there are 65 patients in serious condition, 35 in extremely critical condition, and 9 are on ventilators. There are 2,000 people in mandatory quarantine.

According to the ministry, Armenia’s healthcare system is capable of dealing with 3,000–4,000 active cases; there are currently 1,393.

The country currently has 350 available beds for treating coronavirus patients in the healthcare system, however, the majority of patients are residing in hotels (35 hotels as of 27 April) because they are asymptomatic and do not require medical care.

04 May 2020, 15:06

Georgian companies benefiting from state aid to be fined for providing false information

Companies benefiting from state financial aid will be fined if they provide false information about their employees.

According to the Georgian Finance Minister Ivane Machavariani, the fines will be twice the sum of the aid they applied for.

On 24 April, the government presented a social assistance plan according to which businesses who did not fire workers would receive subsidies. Salaries below ₾750 ($240) per month will be free from income tax for the next six months while salaries under ₾1,500 ($470) will be free from income tax for the first ₾750.

‘We are adding an article in the Tax Code, according to which, companies are responsible for providing valid information. If they give us false information, they will be fined by twice the amount of the aid’, said Machavariani.

04 May 2020, 12:56

Armenia launches face mask production

Armenia has launched large-scale production of face masks which will be undertaken by Tavush Textile.

According to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, near 150,000 masks will be produced daily during the first few days of operation and by the end of this week, 300,000 masks will be produced daily.

Photo: Anahit Harutyunyan/OC Media.

The Commission of the State of Emergency has stated that besides local production, enough masks have been imported to Armenia and there is no need for concern about a deficit. The only concern, according to the Commission, is mask price fluctuations.

04 May 2020, 12:24

Georgia lifts ban on entry to Batumi and Kutaisi

The ban on entry and exit to two of Georgia’s largest cities, Batumi and Kutaisi, will be lifted from tomorrow Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has said. The restrictions will remain in force for Tbilisi and Rustavi.

‘This directly depends on the epidemic situation in the neighbouring regions’, Gakharia said.

‘It is possible that Tbilisi and Rustavi will open by the end of this week.’

The government prohibited entrance and exit to the four largest cities in the country, Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, and Batumi on 15 April.

Gakharia added that from 5 May, car services and the construction sector will be allowed to reopen.

04 May 2020, 09:30

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Monday, 4 May. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Armenia’s authorities have announced that starting tomorrow it will no longer be necessary to present documents to the police to justify venturing outside of the home.

During his visit to the southern Kvemo Kartli Region on Saturday, Director of Georgia's National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Amiran Gamkrelidze urged regional officials not to relax their efforts against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

'Don't calm people down by saying everything's alright. Everything will be alright but so far, we have a lot ahead. Since it [the situation] has improved a little, people started having an illusion that that's it, we won. No, it's not like that, we're far from there', Gamkrelidze said.

Talking with editors of local news outlets on Saturday, the Head of North Ossetia, Vyacheslav Bitarov, accused believers of a conspiracy theory that connects 5G technology to the novel coronavirus of burning down a cellular phone communication tower near Vladikavkaz.

Read more on OC Media: A cellular mast burns in North Ossetia over ‘5G technology fears

Read the latest stories:

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