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Coronavirus live updates | Georgian PM: Country to reopen for international tourism in July

8 May 2020
Georgian Airways Boeing 737. Photo: Georgian Airways.

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17 Aug 2022, 06:12

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

08 May 2020, 19:41

‘Grounds for optimism’ in Georgia, health official says

There are many ‘indirect indicators’ giving grounds for optimism in Georgia, the director of the Centre for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze has said.

He told journalists that even though the number of tests being carried out had quadrupled, the number of confirmed cases was not increasing as fast as before.

‘Yesterday and the day before, we tested 670 people in Marneuli and identified only 1 new infection. Today we closed the Kobuleti cluster. We haven’t found a single case of infection there in 10 days’, said Gamkrelidze adding that this was also true for several other regions.

As of 8 May, 623 cases have been confirmed in Georgia; 288 have recovered and 10 have died.

08 May 2020, 19:32

Male relatives ‘to be held accountable’ for women breaking lockdown in Chechnya

The speaker of the Chechen parliament, Magomed Daudov, has said that the male relatives of women who violate lockdown rules would be held accountable for their actions, Kavkaz.Realii reports.

‘Knowing that nobody will tell them anything, our women are walking around the city doing their business without masks or passes in their hands’, Daudov reportedly said.

‘I appeal to all brothers, friends, watch for women, do not let them go out’, he said.

08 May 2020, 19:06

Krasnodar Krai expands industries eligible for state support

The Governor of the Krasnodar Krai has expanded the list of industries eligible for state support during the pandemic.

For small and medium-sized businesses, the list now also includes printing activities, electrical work, advertising, photography, accounting, auditing and tax advice, certain types of wholesale and retail trade, and a number of areas of housing and communal services.

State support will include tax deferrals and deferrals of rent for state-owned property and land.

Enterprises from these industries can also apply for preferential loans from the Microfinance Fund of Krasnodar Krai and the Regional Industrial Fund.

The list already included air transportation, leisure and entertainment, sports, tourism, non-food trade, catering, property rental, vehicle repair, medical and dental services, and more.

08 May 2020, 17:38

Eighty per cent of Abkhazia’s medical staff ‘in high-risk group’

As in South Ossetia, Abkhazia also suffers from weak infrastructure, lacks medical professionals and has an ageing population, with nearly 20% of residents over 60 years of age, yesterday’s ICG report says.

The report said that close to 80% of medical personnel were in a high-risk group, as they were in their sixties or older. 

‘If they get sick, the region will lose all its doctors within days’, the report cited a foreign diplomat who regularly travels to Abkhazia.

It suggested that Georgia’s central government should consider granting permission to international organisations or foreign banks to offer aid to Abkhazia to ease the economic pain.

As for the measures taken against the spread of coronavirus in Abkhazia, the ICG said that the authorities were slow to impose social distancing.

‘The COVID-19 crisis coincided with elections for a new de facto president and, here as well, there was little evidence of masks or other preventive measures at campaign rallies or on election day. Not until the vote was over did local authorities introduce a state of emergency’, the report said. 

 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.

08 May 2020, 16:16

More on Georgia’s ‘corona-safe tourist zones’

Unveiling the government’s post-crisis plans yesterday, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia vowed to reopen Georgia to tourism in July, floating the possibility of creating ‘tourist zones’ that would be safe from the novel coronavirus. 

Read more on the story: Georgia plans corona-safe ‘tourist zones’.

08 May 2020, 16:13

Baku subway to reopen on 9 May

Azerbaijan’s coronavirus Operational Headquarters has announced that the Baku subway will reopen on 9 May. 

Only those who have notified the authorities via SMS before leaving their homes, have registered on icaze.e-gov.az, and who have ID cards with them or permission from their workplace will be allowed to enter the subway. 

Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing between passengers will be mandatory.

08 May 2020, 15:14

Hospitals ‘severely underequipped in South Ossetia’ 

Hospitals in South Ossetia are severely underequipped according to a new report from the International Crisis Group (ICG) — an independent peacebuilding organisation said.

The group said one of the few doctors in the region had refused to work due to lack of basic protective gear at the hospital, 

The report, published on 6 May partially blamed the situation on the reluctance of the authorities to work with the World Health Organisation and other international organisations. 

They said this was because such organisations coordinate their activities with the Georgian government. ‘The de facto leadership sees collaboration with them as undermining their own demand for international recognition of the region’s independent status’, the report says.

The ICG said there was a high risk of COVID-19 spread in South Ossetia and that Russia, which provides a majority of the region’s needs, stopped most exports of medical supplies in early March.  

‘More­over, many of the region’s medical professionals have had no training for years, lacking even the know-how to operate 26 ventilators delivered from Russia.  “We don’t dare to even go for blood tests with the local doctors”, a resident said.’

The organisation suggested South Ossetia cooperate with the World Health Organisation and UN agencies or ‘at a minimum they should communicate with them online or by telephone to provide the information necessary to support local efforts at preventing the spread of the virus and organising medical supply deliveries’.

 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.

08 May 2020, 10:23

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Friday, 8 May. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

In a briefing held today, Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has announced that the Georgian government plans to allow international tourists to visit the country from 1 July.

Citing a ‘relatively better epidemiological situation’, Gakharia stated that it will once again be legal to enter and exit Tbilisi starting on 11 May. The same restrictions will be lifted in Rustavi and Gardabani on 14 May.

From yesterday going forward, in Karachay-Cherkessia and in Chechnya, everyone without exception must wear masks in all retail shops, pharmacies, medical institutions, and any other enterprises that are continuing to operate.

Azerbaijan’s first module hospital, which was built in only three weeks, opened in Baku yesterday. The  3000 square meter complex consists of three buildings, 100 wards and 200 beds. Azerbaijan plans to open five more module hospitals by the end of May, and four by the end of June.

South Ossetia’s authorities have announced that they will be ‘closing the border with Russia without exceptions’ from 10 May to 17 May.  They had closed the Roki-Nizhny Zaramag crossing with Russia’s North Ossetia on 5 April, with exceptions for Russian diplomats, military personnel, and cargo vehicles with special permits. This time the border will be closed, ‘without exception’. Cargo vehicles too, will not be allowed to pass.

Read the latest stories:

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