A Georgian police officer adjusts a protective mask on the face of his colleague as they stand guard outside a medical facility, Feb. 27, 2020, in Tbilisi.(VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

A Georgian police officer adjusts a protective mask on the face of his colleague as they stand guard outside a medical facility, Feb. 27, 2020, in Tbilisi.(VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

On 6 April 57 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in Azerbaijan.

The infected are placed in special treatment hospitals, the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers said. At the same time, 12 people recovered and discharged from hospitals. The total number of infected in Azerbaijan reached 641. Of these, 44 recovered, seven people died; 590 people remain in hospitals. The health of 11 of them is characterized as severe, 17 - of moderate severity. In various quarantine zones of the country, 4369 people are examined. In order to check for coronavirus infection, 45 thousand test studies were conducted.

In some media, this indicator is presented as a success of the Azerbaijani government. However, in neighboring Georgia, indicators are much better than Azerbaijani. On 6 March 6 there were only two who died from coronavirus and 188 became infected. It should be noted that the actual population in Georgia is 2-3 times less than in Azerbaijan. However, it is useful to compare the actions of the two governments.

The earliest preventive measures in Azerbaijan were taken on January 23, 2020, when the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan strengthened border checks due to coronavirus. January 29 suspended flights between Baku and China. On January 30, an order of the Cabinet of Ministers approved the "Action Plan to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Azerbaijan."

The first case of coronavirus infection in Azerbaijan was on February 28, 2020. A Russian citizen who crossed the border of Azerbaijan from Iran turned out to be infected. The creation of the Pandemic Control Headquarters in Azerbaijan on the eve of the first infection can be considered a successful solution.

On March 2, all educational institutions were closed for a period from March 3 to March 9. Then the ban was extended until April 20. In Georgia, a citizen of the country was first diagnosed with coronavirus on February 26, and on March 2, early vacations at educational institutions were announced.

Please, pay attention: the decision on educational institutions in Azerbaijan was made on March 2, that is, only 3 days after the detection of the first patient. In Georgia, the decision on schools and universities was also March 2, but 5 days after the discovery of the first infected.

The first closure of the Azerbaijani land border occurred on February 29, with Iran the day after the first infection of the Azerbaijani. By this time, the number of people infected with coronavirus in Iran reached 593 people, killing 43, but Iranian tourists were walking in Baku. The late closure of the border with Iran in society is considered the biggest mistake of the Azerbaijani government.

On March 4, Azerbaijan for the first time restricted the passage of trucks from Iran to the country. Trucks entering Azerbaijan continued to travel around the country, accompanied by Azerbaijani police officers, while it was difficult to exclude close communication between police and drivers. We will talk about police duties later.

The first transport ban in Georgia was announced much later than in Azerbaijan - on March 15 there was a suspension of the Sarpi checkpoint on the Georgian-Turkish border. Since March 16, the movement of citizens between Georgia and Russia has been stopped.

In Georgia, later than in Azerbaijan, they went to the blockade of the regions in which the coronavirus was found. On March 23, the Bolnisi and Marneuli districts were "closed" with the predominantly Azerbaijani population of Georgia, where more than 10 individuals, including in private institutions that are not subject to the termination of business, are only allowed if they maintain a distance of at least two meters (between people).

Since March 19, Azerbaijan has restricted entry to Baku, Sumgayit and Absheron region of cars registered in cities and regions of the republic, and their passengers, with the exception of special vehicles, ambulances, emergency recovery, rescue services, and trucks. The press reported that despite the ban, residents of the regions still penetrated into Sumgayit and Baku, using the ambulance, and possibly other special vehicles.

In Azerbaijan, on March 17, visits to mosques and places of worship were banned. The next day, mass worship in the Orthodox churches of Azerbaijan was suspended. In Georgia, the Orthodox Church still encourages citizens to visit churches.

In Azerbaijan, strict quarantine conditions were introduced on April 5, from this day on, people must receive SMS permissions to obtain permission to leave their place of residence. The restriction of public transport is introduced only for the subway, and its passengers can use ground buses that run between metro stations.

In Georgia, from March 31, universal quarantine and curfew were announced from 21:00 to 06:00. In the country, the movement of any public transport is prohibited, except taxi. The authorities decided to tighten restrictions, as the population does not comply with the rules of the quarantine regime.

The authorities decided to tighten restrictions, as the population does not comply with the rules of the quarantine regime. In a passenger car, the number of passengers is limited to three; people older than 70 years must not leave their homes if they do not go to the nearest grocery store or pharmacy. In major cities of the country, military checkpoints are established.

After the introduction of the state of emergency in Georgia, the police received the right to send violators of self-isolation to compulsory quarantine and fine three thousand lari (about $ 909).

In Azerbaijan, the police may fine for violation of the rules for 100-200 manats, that is 59-118 dollars. There is no curfew.

The cities of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Poti, Zugdidi, Rustavi, Telavi and Akhaltsikhe closed in a neighboring country. In Azerbaijan, in addition to Baku and Sumgait, decisions to close were in relation to the cities of Sheki, Ganja and Agdam.

It follows from the above that prohibitive measures were generally taken in Azerbaijan no later than in Georgia, excluding the outrageous Iranian tourists walking around the country, when the number of deaths in Iran went to hundreds. However, in Georgia, the government adopted stricter rules, including the imposition of curfews at night and more than a severe monetary fine for violating the regime (about $ 900). Georgia began the production  of medical masks two weeks ago; they are  given to old people. In our country, the problem of the shortage of medical masks began to be solved only on April 7. We do not give out masks to the population, as in Turkey.

It is important to note one difference in countermeasures in Azerbaijan and Georgia. In Azerbaijan, public transport operates and is the site of the potential spread of the virus. However, in Georgia it is banned. Preference for cars where space and number of people is limited.

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Грузия меняет западную ориентацию и идет на сближение с Россией? - беседа с экспертом по Кавказу Вадимом Дубновым в программе "Çətin sual"

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