Enguri crossing point, the only existing passage which links Russian-occupied Abkhazia region to Georgia proper, will be closed on March 14 until further notice, local news agency ApsnyPress reported. The projected term of the closure will be known later today. The decision to introduce the restriction was voiced on March 11 by Valery Bganba, Moscow-backed acting leader of Abkhazia, at the meeting of an inter-agency operational group tasked to stave off the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Tamaz Tsakhnakia, an Abkhaz functionary in charge of healthcare and welfare issues, reported on the set of protocols employed to manage patients with symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus infection. “In case of detecting common signs of the infection, the patients will be tested using express and PCR diagnostics to detect influenza A and B viruses. If a patient tests negative for flu and the symptoms continue to aggravate, then the testing material will be sent to the Stavropol Reference Laboratory (in Russia) [for further examination],” Tsakhnakia stated.
Fearing the coronavirus outbreak, Abkhazia, Georgia’s Russian-occupied region, imposed temporary restrictions on Enguri Bridge crossing point, connecting the region with Georgia proper on February 27. Until April 7, Moscow-backed Abkhaz authorities will ensure enhanced control and apply quarantine measures along the administrative boundary line with Georgia. Abkhaz authorities also apply quarantine measures on Psou border crossing point, Georgia’s westernmost Sokhumi-controlled point, connecting the region to Russia.
Earlier, on February 25, Sokhumi extended a travel ban which bars “foreign nationals” from entering the occupied region. However, the ban excludes nationals of the Russian Federation.
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