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Coronavirus live updates | Armenia launches phone tracking system 

9 April 2020

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09 Apr 2020, 20:36

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

09 Apr 2020, 20:19

Authorities ‘dump homeless people from Sochi’ in village 110 kilometres away

Homeless people have been picked up by the authorities from the city of Sochi, in Krasnodar Krai, and left in the village of Dzhubga, local newspaper Zhivaya Kuban reports. The paper cited residents of Dzhubga and activists in Sochi.

In a video provided to the newspaper by local residents, several homeless people said they were now walking back to Sochi, a distance of over 110 kilometres.

Sochi news portal SochiStream, citing a source in the city’s authorities, reported that the authorities tried to take 28 homeless people ‘to social shelters’, but they allegedly ‘beat [the two] Cossacks who accompanied them’ and fled.

The authorities are investigating the incident, SochiStream said.

09 Apr 2020, 19:59

Priests, prisoners and soldiers shortlisted for quick testing in Georgia

The Georgian Health Ministry has published a list of target groups to be given priority for coronavirus quick tests, including priests, prisoners, and military personnel. 

The list includes people in monasteries, retirement homes, and psychiatric facilities. 

The tests will also be administered to high-risk patients with particular symptoms, medical personnel, and patients admitted to hospital showing COVID-19 symptoms.

According to the document issued by the ministry, the authorities are using two kinds of tests.

The antibody rapid tests, they said, are 80%–90% precise but can give false results if administered either too early or too late. The document says that one of the reasons for false-negative results can be a person’s weak immunity. 

Antigen rapid tests almost never show false-positive results, they said, and unlike antibody tests, can show false negative results only if administered either too early or too late.

09 Apr 2020, 19:45

Georgian President urges public to stay at home on Easter

In a special video address today, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said she would not be attending any church service in the early hours of 19 April to celebrate Easter. 

‘I can't attend an Easter liturgy because the president of the country cannot violate the law… and cannot give the public an example of disobedience’ 

‘The clergy present and priest will pray for us’.

With ten days to go, the marking of Easter in Georgia has become a controversial issue after the Georgian Orthodox Church has made no indication they are cancelling the celebrations. 

Read the full story: Georgian Orthodox Church remains unyielding as Easter celebrations approach.

09 Apr 2020, 19:27

People losing their jobs in Krasnodar Krai to be eligible for benefits

The authorities in Krasnodar Krai have promised to include people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic to the list of socially vulnerable families eligible for state support.

They said that the number of people in need of support after the start of the spread of the virus ‘will certainly increase’.

The Governor of the region, Veniamin Kondratyev, also drew attention to self-employed people not officially registered as having a job.

‘It’s difficult for us to count them and take them into account, but we will be doing it,’ he concluded.

09 Apr 2020, 18:53

Volunteers in Karachay-Cherkessia distribute masks 

Volunteers from the United Volunteer Headquarters of Karachay-Cherkessia, which coordinates assistance to senior citizens and people with disabilities, has distributed more than 20,000 free masks.

The masks were handed over to the administrations of all municipalities, to the city polyclinic and ambulance station of the city of Cherkessk, to the Traffic Police Department of the republic, to the postal service in Cherkessk, and to people over 65, pregnant, and people with disabilities who applied to the headquarters.

The masks were purchased with donations from United Russia MPs and produced by charitable organisations The Ark and Territory of Mercy.

09 Apr 2020, 17:59

Daghestan announces economic sectors excluded from self-isolation rules

The head of Dagestan, Vladimir Vasiliyev, has approved a list of sectors of the economy that will be excluded from a Russia-wide self-isolation set to last until 30 April.

The list includes enterprises operating in the agricultural sector, financial sector, construction, housing and communal services, and the media.

Businesses in the footwear manufacturing industry, which is a an important industry in Daghestan, will also be allowed to continue to operate.

Employers will be obligated to provide employees with disinfectants and personal protective equipment and to measure their body temperatures regularly.

Permits for businesses operating in these sectors will be issued by Rospotrebnadzor after being examined.

09 Apr 2020, 17:29

Public transport to partially resume in North Ossetia

Starting from tomorrow, municipal and inter-municipal passenger transport will partially resume in North Ossetia, official telegram channel COVID-2019 Vladikavkaz reports.

Drivers will wear masks and gloves and regularly disinfect the inside of their vehicle, while passengers are ‘strongly advised’ to wear masks.

Meanwhile, the head of the republic, Vyacheslav Bitarov, instructed the Interior Ministry to increase the number of patrols in residential areas and to inform people of the necessity to comply with the self-isolation regime.

09 Apr 2020, 17:27

Georgian PM: tougher state of emergency ‘not ruled out’

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia ‘did not exclude’ today enacting stricter quarantine rules nationwide instead of enacting them on individual regions.

Gakharia told journalists today that while tougher rules had been enacted in coronavirus clusters identified in Bolnisi and Marneuli, Adjara, Samegrelo, and in Svaneti, it might make more sense to apply the rules to the whole country. 

Georgian medical authorities have said they are currently scrambling to break the chain of transmission in the northwestern Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti Region. A 53-year-old man in Lentekhi admitted earlier to a local fever centre tested positive for coronavirus today.

09 Apr 2020, 14:48

North Ossetian blogger charged with ‘distributing fake news’ 

North Ossetia’s Centre for Combating Extremism has launched an administrative case against blogger and political analyst Alan Mamiyev for ‘distributing fake news’ about COVID-19, local state-owned TV channel Alania has reported.

Alan Mamiyev. Image via Alania TV.

Mamiyev reportedly claims he does not know what he is accused of since he has not yet seen his file. 

If proved guilty, he faces a 100,000 ($1,300) fine.

09 Apr 2020, 12:44

EU to give further €92 million to Armenia

The European Union has announced it will provide a €92 million ($99 million) aid package to Armenia to support its immediate and short-term needs. 

This is in addition to a €140 million ($154 million) aid package to the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries, which includes Armenia. 

The funds will be directed towards procuring medical devices and equipment, training for medical and laboratory staff, support to SMEs and businesses, as well as social and humanitarian assistance to those affected by the virus.

09 Apr 2020, 12:31

Armenia receives medical aid from China

Last night, Armenia received medical supplies and equipment from China. Some of the supplies were purchased by the Armenian government while the rest were donated by the Chinese government and Armenian and Chinese donors. 

Photo via Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan.

The medical supplies and equipment received include:

  • 120 ventilators
  • 2 oxygen generators
  • 60,000 COVID-19 tests
  • 60,000 medical masks
  • 280,000 protective masks
  • 20,000 protective goggles
  • 100,000 protective suits

Two Armenian citizens who had been staying at the Armenian Embassy in China for several days were also on the charter flight and will stay in 14-day quarantine before being allowed to go home.

09 Apr 2020, 12:28

My Step Foundation donates $200,000 

The My Step Foundation, founded by Anna Hakobyan, the wife of Armenia’s PM Nikol Pashinyan, has donated ֏100 million ($200,000) to help fight against COVID-19 in the country. 

The money will go towards purchasing medical supplies.

09 Apr 2020, 12:27

Kabardino-Balkaria opens new monitoring clinic

A new clinic with 50 beds has opened in Kabardino-Balkaria in the Geriatric Center to monitor people who have come into contact with COVID-19 patients but are not able to self-isolate in a separate room at home.

Until now, this category of people have been monitored in the infectious diseases ward at the Mayskiy District Central Hospital, but due to new recommendations from the Russian Ministry of Health, it has closed.

09 Apr 2020, 12:20

Ivanishvili’s Cartu Foundation donates $31 million to relief fund

The Cartu Foundation, a charity run by the family of Georgian Dream chair Bidzina Ivanishvili, has donated ₾100 million ($31 million) to the government’s StopCov fund.

After the latest donation, the sum surpassed ₾124 million ($39 million).

The StopCov fund was launched in late March by the government to raise money to help tackle problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

09 Apr 2020, 10:59

Abkhazia puts Gagra under curfew

Abkhazia’s westernmost Gagra District has been placed under curfew from today, with residents banned from going out from 20:00-7:00.

Gagra. Photo: RFE/RL.

Abkhazian Prime Minister and acting President Valeriy Bganba announced the decision yesterday after local health authorities confirmed a second case of coronavirus through community transmission. 

Abkhazian authorities confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

 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.

09 Apr 2020, 09:00

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Thursday, 9 April. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Armenia launched a phone tracking system to track those who confirmed cases have come into contact with. The data collected is to be physically destroyed within three weeks of the state of emergency being lifted.

A building in Tbilisi, Georgia, resided in by internally displaced persons was locked down after a family tested positive for coronavirus. The head of the National Centre for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze, said that this was not done on their recommendation. 

Stavropol Krai announced the first death due to coronavirus in the region,  a 53-year-old woman who had a preexisting cardiovascular condition.

Azerbaijan announced that unemployed people would receive a lump sum of ₼190 ($110) per month during the special quarantine regime.

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Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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