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Coronavirus live updates | Altar boy infected with COVID-19 in Georgia

7 April 2020
Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi on 7 April. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

The latest stories:

How have you been affected by the coronavirus crisis? We would like to hear from you. Get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, or email at [email protected].

07 Apr 2020, 19:59

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

07 Apr 2020, 19:18

First case of COVID-19 infection confirmed in Abkhazia

The first case of a novel coronavirus infection has been confirmed in Abkhazia. 

According to AbkhazInform, a local news portal, the chief sanitary doctor of Abkhazia, Lyudmila Skorik, confirmed the infection.

07 Apr 2020, 19:11

Altar boy infected with COVID-19 in Georgia

Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi on 7 April. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

An altar boy has been infected with COVID-19 in Georgia.

The transmission was first reported by Formula TV

Tuesday evening, Father Serapime, the priest at the church, confirmed to Maestro TV that the altar boy had COVID-19. 

He added that after he learned the grandfather of the boy was infected with coronavirus, the boy was asked to go into isolation.

‘He hasn’t been in touch with anyone this weekend’, Father Serapime said. He did use to attend ceremonies before his grandfather’s diagnosis.’

The priest added that he himself is currently in self-isolation. 

The case has raised concerns about the Georgian Patriarchate’s continued non-compliance with Georgian health officials’ recommendations on social distancing, including using a common spoon for Holy Communion. 

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II, who was expected to lead the liturgy in the Holy Trinity cathedral today, as churchgoers celebrated Annunciation, stayed in because his doctors ‘insisted’.

07 Apr 2020, 18:45

Azerbaijan to open six modular hospitals

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an order for six modular hospitals with 200 beds each to be opened in Azerbaijan —  ₼14,8 million ($8.7 million) was allocated to the Ministry of Finance for their construction.

07 Apr 2020, 18:39

An agricultural market in Poti, Georgia starts ironing money to avoid closure

Today, Georgian authorities have closed all agricultural markets in Tbilisi and several in the regions, including the central market in Zugdidi, Samegrelo region. The closures are a preventive measure against COVID-19. 

Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili vowed that it was a temporary step, something that can be reversed on a case by case basis, provided proper safety instructions are observed. 

A market in Poti, a city on Georgia's Black Sea Coast, has been spared the measure, as its administration has claimed to have started measuring the temperature of customers and has also begun disinfecting cash by ironing banknotes and washing coins in an antiseptic liquid.

07 Apr 2020, 18:30

Authorities in Krasnodar Krai to deliver food to poor 

The administration of Krasnodar Krai has prepared 28 thousand food packages for impoverished people in the region.

The regional branch of the Russian Post-Office reports that in April, pensions will be delivered to the residents at home.

Authorities have assured the public that while the agricultural markets are staying closed, trading networks will not allow farmers’ production to go to waste.

07 Apr 2020, 17:50

Azerbaijani citizens stranded in Russia and Ukraine not able to return home

Azerbaijani citizens staying at a mosque on the Azerbaijan-Russia border. Photo: Meydan TV.

Roughly sixty Azerbaijani citizens are stranded on the Samur bridge border crossing between Russia and Azerbaijan, Meydan TV reports

Tural Jafarov, Nasimi Suleymanov, Elmira Aliyeva, and Zahir Mehdiyev told Meydan TV that Russian authorities told them Azerbaijan would not accept them. They have, reportedly, been staying in a mosque at the border for the past week.

Meydan TV also reported that over 600 Azerbaijani citizens in Kyiv, Ukraine, are not able to return to Azerbaijan.

Leyla Abdullayeva, the chief spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, told Meydan TV that the ministry has been informed about the situation in Russia and Ukraine and has already briefed the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers. 

She also noted that Azerbaijan has a strict quarantine regime and closed the borders with all countries. 

‘They [those who are stranded] have to wait until the end of the strict quarantine regime, i.e. until 20 April. This is a decision already made at the state level. Entry and exit to the country are restricted’, she said.

07 Apr 2020, 17:18

Azerbaijan releases 176 elderly prisoners 

Almamed Nuriyev, a member of the Public Committee for Control in Correctional facilities of the Ministry of Justice, told Trend that 176 prisoners older than 65 were released. 

On Monday Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed the order ‘On the pardon of a number of convicted persons’, in which 176 people were listed.

07 Apr 2020, 17:15

Azerbaijani produced masks to go on sale in a week

Mask production at Baku Textile Factory in Sumgait. Photo: Trend.

Sakina Babayeva, the founder of the Baku Textile Factory, told journalists on Tuesday that locally produced medical masks will go on sale in pharmacies in a week. 

On Monday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and vice president Mehriban Aliyeva took part in the opening of a medical mask production company created by Baku Textile Factory in the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park.  

The mask producing enterprise will produce 120,000 medical masks per day initially. 

According to Azertag, in the coming days, another production line will be launched, production is expected to double to 200-250 thousand medical masks being produced daily.

07 Apr 2020, 17:02

All three patients in Karachay-Cherkessia will be treated at home

The chief sanitary officer of Karachay-Cherkessia, Sergey Beskakotov, said that all three individuals who have COVID-19 in the republic have signed an agreement to be treated at home, Regnum reports.

07 Apr 2020, 15:48

North Ossetia has first COVID-19 fatality 

The first fatality from the novel coronavirus has been registered in North Ossetia, reports Ekho Kavkaza, citing the local office of Rospotrebnadzor.

The patient was 83 years old and he died as a result of pneumonia caused by COVID-19, he also had a number of underlying conditions.

In total, nine cases of the disease have been recorded in North Ossetia.

07 Apr 2020, 15:44

Nagorno-Karabakh confirms first novel coronavirus case

Nagorno-Karabakh has confirmed its first case of COVID-19.

The patient had returned to Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia and was quarantined at the Kashatagh Medical Centre.

Seventeen people who have been in contact with the patient have also been quarantined. None have symptoms.

The homes of those who have been quarantined have been disinfected by the Epidemiology and Hygiene Centre. The village of Mirik, where the infected individual had visited prior to quarantine, is currently under state supervision.

 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.

07 Apr 2020, 15:39

167 fined in 24 hours in Georgia for violating state of emergency rules

In the past 24 hours, 167 people were fined in Georgia for violating the rules of the state of emergency and curfew. 

According to the Interior ministry, 112 were fined for being outside during the curfew (from 21:00 to 06:00).

Twenty-eight people were fined for violating the ban on gatherings of 3+ in public. 

Twenty-seven were fined for violating the ban on transportation (no more than three people in a vehicle with passengers restricted to the backseat, and no transportation by any means other than private car or taxi). 

Fines for private persons stand at ₾3000 ($950) and ₾15,000 ($4,700) for businesses. 

07 Apr 2020, 15:35

Lives and health of Gali and Akhalgori population ‘at extreme risk’ HRIDC reports

Enguri Bridge, Dato Parulava/OC Media.

Severe restrictions of movement and inadequate hospital supplies in Gali (Abkhazia) and Akhalgori (South Ossetia), have put the lives and health of local populations at extreme risk, the Georgia-based human rights group, Human Rights Centre (HRIDC) reported on Tuesday.

According to the organisation, hospitals in these regions have not been provided with any medical equipment to address the novel coronavirus and additionally, local authorities have closed most of the checkpoints connecting these districts to Georgian-controlled territory.

‘All checkpoints connecting South Ossetia to the rest of Georgia have been closed and only one checkpoint is operating between the Gali District and Georgia-controlled territory, with severe restrictions, to which many locals do not have access’, HRIDC wrote in their statement.

They added that Saberio-Pakhulani, the only checkpoint where patients with symptoms of COVID-19 from Gali are allowed to pass, is far away from many villages and not accessible for locals.

‘Receiving medical help in the city centres in the respective regions —  Sokhumi and Tskhinvali — is also restricted, considering that these cities are far away, not easily accessible and travel to them is costly’, the HRIDC wrote.

 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.

07 Apr 2020, 15:24

Arrivals in Krasnodar Krai from Moscow and St. Petersburg must self-isolate

The Governor of the Krasnodar Territory Veniamin Kondratyev signed a decree on mandatory 14-day self-isolation for everyone who arrives in the region from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Anyone arriving in Krasnodar Krai from these cities is obliged to immediately inform authorities about their arrival by calling a government hotline at 8-800-2000-366 or 8-918-677-49-89.

07 Apr 2020, 15:10

Russia halts fines for non-payment of utility bills until the end of the year

The Russian government has introduced a moratorium on cutting off utilities and charging fines for non-payment or late payments until 1 January 2021.

Families with low incomes have had the right to receive subsidies for housing and utilities extended until 1 October 2020.

07 Apr 2020, 14:37

Private clinics in Karachay-Cherkessia donate test kits to Ministry of Health

Karachay-Cherkessia authorities have said that two private diagnostic laboratories donated 1800 sets of COVID-19 tests to the republic’s Ministry of Health.

For now, the Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology in Karachay-Cherkessia has 3,000 test kits, with another 10,000 to be arriving shortly. 

07 Apr 2020, 14:20

Georgian Patriarch absent from liturgy ‘because doctors insisted’

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II who was expected to lead the liturgy in the Holy Trinity cathedral as churchgoers celebrate Annunciation, stayed in because ‘doctors insisted’.

‘As I know, doctors insisted he stay in the patriarchate’, the spokesperson of the Patriarchate, Andria Jaghmaidze, told Tabula. ‘He attended the liturgy in the Patriarchate’s church.’ 

Ilia II hasn’t shown up in the Holy Trinity cathedral for several weeks now. He was expected to lead to liturgy on Tuesday, as Jaghmaidze had said previously he would.

The Patriarchate of Georgia refuses to comply with Georgian health officials’ recommendations on social distancing. Health officials have since asked worshippers to pray at home and not attend church. 

In their 29 February statement, the Patriarchate also objected to advice from health officials that they use disposable spoons, instead of a common spoon, during Holy Communion to try to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

07 Apr 2020, 11:42

Kadyrov: Russian PM ‘badly informed’

In his Telegram channel yesterday, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov criticised Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and federal authorities of being ‘badly informed’ after the Russian head of government scolded ‘some regions’ for locking down their administrative borders. 

Mishustin called on regional governments 'not to mistake regional authority with federal'. 

On 5 April, the Chechen authorities completely closed the administrative borders of the republic for entry and exit.

In his reply, Kadyrov denied ever closing borders for transit goods but confirmed that they had no intention to let non-residents into the Chechen Republic, citing a recent Moscow-Grozny flight of which one passenger allegedly spread the virus.

07 Apr 2020, 11:13

Karachay-Cherkessia starts producing reusable masks

A large sewing factory Selena in the city of Ust-Dzheguta in Karachay-Cherkessia has started producing protective reusable masks, Regnum reports.

They plan to produce 7000 masks per day.

07 Apr 2020, 10:51

Armenia’s PM says utilities won’t be turned off due to non-payment

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan assured the population during a live Q&A last night that for the duration of the state of emergency no utilities will be turned off due to non-payment. 

Pashinyan also confirmed he had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin during which they discussed possible changes in the price of gas. He also said that Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan has contacted Russia-owned Gazprom, Armenia’s main gas supplier, proposing they begin negotiations to try to lower the price of gas supplied to Armenia.

07 Apr 2020, 10:41

Armenia plans to produce COVID-19 tests

Yesterday evening, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a live three hour Q&A session with citizens on Facebook. During the Q&A, Pashinyan stated that Armenia is likely to begin its own production of COVID-19 tests. 

For that purpose, the state will allocate $550,000 to the country’s Institute of Molecular Biology. He also noted that the government has set a goal of testing 1000 people a day starting this week.

07 Apr 2020, 09:00


Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Tuesday, 7 April. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

The first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Russian Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia and in Azerbaijan’s Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan. The local health authorities in Nakhchivan said that one person had already recovered.

Health officials in Georgia called on the public not to go to Church and to instead to pray from home in order to ‘protect the church and clergy’.

Georgia’s public defender Nino Lomjaria has warned that homeless people in Georgia were at high risk of catching the coronavirus.

Read more: Georgia’s homeless ‘at high risk’ during COVID-19

Armenia announced that almost 150 people with COVID-19 had developed pneumonia. The Health Ministry said that 35 people currently required oxygen, and 8 were in extremely critical condition.

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Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories:

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