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Coronavirus live updates | Abkhazia to begin lifting restrictions in May

30 April 2020
A market in Sukhumi (Sukhum), Abkhazia. Photo: Dominik K Cagara/OC Media.

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02 Dec 2022, 20:44

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

30 Apr 2020, 20:19

Azerbaijan pardons 260 prisoners 

Azerbaijan has released 260 more prisoners ahead of time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the Ministry of Justice, the releases were part of a pardon order signed by President Ilham Aliyev on 6 April. The day after the pardon was signed, 176 elderly prisoners were released. 

According to the ministry, family visits to prisoners have been suspended and prisoners are being provided with all necessary medical supplies.

30 Apr 2020, 19:45

Krasnodar Krai makes face masks mandatory

Leaving home without wearing a mask has been prohibited from today in Krasnodar Krai. 

According to the regional administration, enterprises in the region are producing more than 50,000 reusable masks per day and about 12,000 disposable masks, so they should be available for purchase.

In addition, the authorities announced they were extending a number of restrictions until 11 May.

These included a restriction on entry into the region, restrictions on traffic between municipalities except for those with passes, and restrictions on traffic within municipalities from 16:00–10:00. 

Parks, squares, embankments, playgrounds will also remain closed and public transport will remain available only in the morning and evening hours. 

Violators of the self-isolation in the region who drive cars will be identified with the use of surveillance cameras, the authorities said.

30 Apr 2020, 19:23

Amnesty International questions Caucasus governments’ response to pandemic

Amnesty International has criticised governments across the Caucasus for the impact on human rights of their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The international human rights group published a report on Wednesday assessing the impact of measures taken in eastern Europe and central Asia.

They criticised increased digital surveillance in Armenia, alleged discriminatory appliance of restrictive measures to different religious groups in Georgia, and beatings in Chechnya 

In Azerbaijan, the group accused the authorities of using the pandemic as cover to step up their crackdown on dissent.

Read the full story: Amnesty International questions Caucasus governments’ response to pandemic.

30 Apr 2020, 19:22

Armenia approves 15th assistance package

Armenia’s government approved its 15th assistance package today which will target the environment, as well as creating new temporary jobs. 

Local willow trees will be planted in six of Armenia’s provinces, including Lori, Shirak, Tavush, Gegharkunik, Vayots Dzor, and Syunik. According to the government, the trees will protect areas from erosion, flooding, and act as a filter to decrease water pollution.

The programme will be implemented in collaboration with Hayantar, The Armenia Tree Project, and the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets. 

The government estimates that this will create near 1,000 jobs and the planting work will take 10-15 days. Over ֏200 million ($420,000) will be allocated for the programme and 2 million willow trees are planned to be planted.

30 Apr 2020, 17:33

Georgia vows to test 1,000 daily

Georgian Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze has announced that the authorities are planning to test over 1,000 people daily from target groups in Georgia. 

The authorities recently added hospital staff and ambulance crews, elderly people in nursing facilities, and people with disabilities to the list of target groups. 

According to Amiran Gamkrelidze, Head of the National Centre of Diseases Control and Public Health, they plan to test from 1,500–1,700 people daily by 15 May. He said the target groups would later expand to include those in quarantine and journalists.

The relatively low number of tests carried out in Georgia compared to neighbouring countries has led to criticism from some. According to local medical authorities, Georgia had tested around 13,700 people as of yesterday. 

30 Apr 2020, 16:35

South Ossetian stay-at-home order ‘might end’ on 12 May 

The authorities in South Ossetia are planning to rescind their stay-at-home order in early May.

‘Provided the epidemiological situation remains unchanged, let’s consider 12 May the first working day’, President Anatoly Bibilov was reported saying today.

Anatoly Bibilov chairing a government meeting. Official picture.

Despite this, the authorities extended a ban on movement with Russia today until 31 May. 

The government ‘fully closed’ the Roki-Nizhny Zaramag crossing with Russia’s North Ossetia earlier this month, soon after the Russian Republic of North Ossetia–Alania confirmed their first two cases on 1 April. 

There are exceptions for North Ossetian citizens returning home, Russian military and diplomatic personnel, and cargo drivers

South Ossetian authorities have so far confirmed no cases of coronavirus.

 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.

30 Apr 2020, 14:53

North Ossetia organises hospital tour for corona-sceptics

The Head of North Ossetia, Vyacheslav Bitarov, has announced the authorities have organised a tour of a hospital where COVID-19 patients are being treated for participants of the recent anti-quarantine rally.

Talking to Russian state-run TV channel Rossiya 24, Bitarov said that the visit ‘changed their attitudes’. 

The authorities connected a recent spike in the number of confirmed cases in the region to the unsanctioned anti-government rally in Vladikavkaz on 20 April. 

Read more about the protest: Police clash with anti-stay-at-home protesters in North Ossetia.

30 Apr 2020, 11:43

Abkhazia to begin lifting restrictions in May

Abkhazian President Aslan Bzhaniya has extended most of the anti-coronavirus measures in place until 15 May, including a prohibition on sports, cultural, and entertainment events, weddings and other ceremonies, and a ban on tourism and foreigners entering Abkhazia.

Public transport between settlements will restart in May but only on specific days and no more than three days a week; open-markets are also set to reopen on those days.

 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.

30 Apr 2020, 09:08

Summary

Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Thursday, 30 April. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia has had more daily recoveries than infections, the director of the Clinic of Infectious Disease Marina Ezugbaia announced today. 

In Azerbaijan, the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers has announced that entry-exit restrictions on state borders have been extended until 31 May. 

Russia’s chief sanitary doctor, Anna Popova, underlined the rapid deterioration in the epidemiological situation in North Ossetia as the number of patients in the republic increased over the past week by 37 % more than double the previous weekly growth rate of 17 %.

Read the latest stories:

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