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COVID-19: Abkhazia Reports First Case of Coronavirus

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On April 7 Moscow-backed Abkhazia has registered the first case of the novel coronavirus in the region. Abkhazia’s chief sanitation officer Lyudmila Skorik noted that the infected patient has arrived in Gagra, Georgia’s westernmost town, after having returned from a trip to Moscow.

After testing positive for coronavirus, the patient was delivered to Gudauta hospital, where s/he now undergoes treatment. Contract tracing is now carried out to track the spread of the disease, noted Abkhazia’s health officer.

Earlier, on March 30, ethnic Georgian resident of Abkhaz-controlled Gali district, who arrived to the region from Moscow via Sochi Airport, tested positive for COVID-19 in Georgian-controlled Zugdidi’s Hospital.

As the news about Gali resident’s COVID-19 diagnosis emerged, Sokhumi then promptly restricted movement between Gali district and the rest of Abkhazia by setting up roadblocks on Gali-Ochamchire highway. Abkhaz authorities also imposed a nighttime curfew in Gali district in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

In a bid to halt coronavirus spread, on March 27 acting Abkhaz leader Valery Bganba declared a state of emergency in the region effective until April 20.

Fearing the coronavirus outbreak, Abkhaz authorities imposed temporary restrictions on Enguri Bridge crossing point, connecting the region with Georgia proper on February 27, a day after Tbilisi recorded the first coronavirus case.

Prior to that, on February 25, Sokhumi extended a travel ban barring “foreign nationals,” except Russian Federation citizens.

The Abkhaz authorities restricted the travel for Russian citizens into the occupied region on March 28, as the confirmed cases surpassed 1,000 in the Russian Federation.

Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, Georgian State Minister overseeing the occupied regions, regretted Abkhaz reluctance to restrict travel with the Russian Federation.

“Since the onset of the outbreak, hundreds of people have entered Abkhazia from the Russian Federation, which has been affected by the disease,” Minister Tsikhelashvili warned on April 1.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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