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Sokhumi Reopens Enguri Crossing Point for Returning Patients

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Starting today, Abkhaz authorities have allowed passage to resume through Enguri bridge crossing point for Abkhaz passport holders who travelled to Georgia proper to receive medical treatment, local media reported on May 26.

Sokhumi permitted residents of Abkhazia to return to the region if they provide a medical certificate confirming a negative COVID-19 test result and go into 14-day mandatory quarantine. Alternatively, local authorities will collect bio-samples from the travelers on the spot to carry out laboratory testing, according to the source.

State Ministry for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Georgia’s major agency overseeing the occupied regions, told Civil.ge today that around 100 patients seeking medical treatment crossed into Tbilisi-controlled territory from both, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions during the coronavirus pandemic. 

It remains unclear whether the measure will be extended to those residents of the region that do not possess Abkhaz passports. Overwhelming majority of 30,000 ethnic Georgians in easternmost Abkhazia’s Gali district are stripped off Abkhaz passports and only hold Georgian citizenship. 

Fearing the coronavirus outbreak, Sokhumi first imposed temporary restrictions on Enguri bridge crossing point on February 27. On March 14, Sokhumi said the crossing point would remain closed until further notice in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

Abkhazia registered its first case of coronavirus infection on April 7. Prior to that, on March 30, ethnic Georgian resident of Sokhumi-controlled Gali district tested positive for COVID-19 in Zugdidi Hospital.

To date, Sokhumi has reported 28 confirmed cases and 15 recoveries.

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