Açıq mənbələrdən foto

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- How do you assess the steps taken by the government during the pandemic? Were the decisions made not only economically and socially but in general correct?

- The sequence and logic of decisions made during a pandemic raise serious problems and questions. It can be said that more correct decisions were made in the early days. The rapid closure of borders, the closure of schools, universities, and later the subway, and then the closure of public catering facilities and large shopping malls, coincided with steps taken in European countries where the virus was spreading at the time. At that time, it was possible to understand the logic of the steps taken. Because there was such a concern in the world too. Viruses and methods of combating them were being studied. And nowhere, including in Azerbaijan, was the health system ready for it. And such a strict regime - closing borders, going out via SMS, restricting public transport, closing non-food shopping malls and indoor spaces - was generally designed to save time for the health care system. That is, these were not measures to prevent the virus. The aim was to increase the number of resuscitation rooms in the health care system, to purchase artificial respirators, and to give the health care system time to overcome the lack of personal hygiene items. From this point of view, the decisions made at the initial stage seemed logical. Certain decisions were made in the economic and social spheres. A package worth about 3.5 billion AZN has been announced. Steps were taken, such as giving 190 AZN to 600,000 unemployed people for two months, paying part of the salaries of 307,000 employees in the non-governmental sector, and refunding taxes paid to individual entrepreneurs last year. But these steps were not enough. Because the experience of other countries shows that in parallel with the package of support for people and businesses affected by the pandemic, decisions had to be made to turn the wheels of the economy in the post-pandemic period. The next packages had to be announced. Unfortunately, no steps have been taken in this regard so far. Even the initially accepted package expired on June 1; however, a strict quarantine regime continues. Even in large cities, decisions are made to stop life. But there is no explanation for the cost of this, the damage to the economy and citizens.

- This is not the time for a special quarantine regime but, in fact, the recent steps taken by the government are met with more dissatisfaction. For example, the decision for a curfew on weekends or not protecting citizens who have stayed on the border with Russia. What do you think the government can do at a time when the number of infections is high?

- The logic of the recent decisions was not clear and it turned out that they were not carried out in parallel with other countries. It is as if the government has begun to deny the steps it has taken before or began to make decisions contrary to these decisions. Decisions made by the Operational Headquarters and the government were made without consulting anyone, and people tried to comply with those decisions to some extent. The opening of shopping centers and catering facilities was a decision made by the Operations Headquarters and the government. And people began to think that everything was going to be fine. Following this decision, the adoption of a new decision and the introduction of a strict 48-hour but, in fact, a 54-hour quarantine regime on Saturday and Sunday was not welcomed by the people. If the decisions were made by mistake, why didn't the Operations Headquarters apologize and respond to the people's misunderstanding? This did not happen. Decisions made without discussion turned out to be wrong. And the government began to take tougher steps, which was not welcomed by the people. Because the decisions made did not make sense. In many countries, it has been decided to eliminate strict measures. In our case, the decision to impose a strict quarantine regime on Saturday and Sunday was illogical. Even pharmacies and grocery stores were closed, throwing out the garbage was not allowed, and people were locked in their house in 30-35 degrees Celsius. People did not understand the logic of this, and this led to very serious grievances. Yasamal incident occurred. Police brutality and inappropriate treatment of citizens further infuriated people. The strict rules adopted the following week were implemented in a slightly softer form. Pharmacies operated online, throwing out the garbage was allowed, and so on. But still, people did not understand the logic of this step. People left Baku en masse. If the goal was not to spread the virus, if there were infected people among those who came to the region, they would spread the virus more throughout the country. These illogical and inconsistent steps are met with reactions from people.

- According to the information spread on social media, there is no more space in hospitals. Even with the government's new decision, those with a mild illness will receive treatment at home. Doctors and hospitals do not come close to those who have a fever without a test result. The test result is not announced earlier than 3 days. What to do? In general, were the decisions made by the government deliberate, thought long and hard?

- If, as they say, there is really no place in hospitals, it raises additional questions. Because the purpose of the rules applied in March was to give time to the health system. If the government has not taken normal steps in the health care system during this period, it is not the fault of the citizens. However, a decision was made to build modular hospitals, and funds were allocated. What happened to these hospitals? Why is their construction delayed? Or if they are ready, why don’t they accept patients? These questions arise. As for the isolation of people with mild illness at home, in fact, it is a decision that had to be made in advance. This has been the approach all over the world. In Azerbaijan, it was illogical to hospitalize anyone who tested positive. Now they are trying to correct this illogical approach. Hospitals should not be filled with patients with mild symptoms.

Another problem is the late announcement of test results and the failure to bring new modern tests to the country. Many countries have already decided to make the tests even on foot. For example, in Israel, kiosks have been set up on the streets, where every citizen can be analyzed for a very short time and get the answer in just 15-20 minutes, for a maximum of 1 hour. It is very important to conduct such expedited and mass tests. In Azerbaijan, this work is lagging and is accompanied by problems.

- The situation in Georgia, which is located in the same geography as Azerbaijan, is already changing for the better. Why did Azerbaijan not benefit from the experience of other countries?

- Azerbaijan failed the class on this issue as well. It seems that it is blindly repeating the steps taken in Russia and Turkey. In Georgia, they took a completely different path. Both borders were closed more quickly and strict quarantine measures were taken sooner. At the same time, citizens' utilities have been paid for, more government support programs have been announced, and we have seen that the government has established a good dialogue with dozens of citizens so that they can stay at home comfortably. In fact, those countries that have been more successful in the fight against the coronavirus have been able to engage their governments in a normal dialogue with the public and convince them of the steps being taken. One of the biggest problems in Azerbaijan is that communication is very weak, and as if there is a gap between the government and the people. The messages are not delivered to the citizens normally. Weak communication also negatively affects the effectiveness of the steps taken. In Georgia, however, the steps were taken systematically and they approached the issues more qualitatively. Even experts from abroad, Italy and France were invited. They took a step together with those specialists. Today, they have achieved serious results. In recent days, the number of virus infections has decreased significantly, with 3-4 virus infections per day. There are even days when the virus infection is not recorded at all. This shows that the steps taken in Georgia are highly effective. The main reason for this was the existence of communication links between the government and society and the more logical steps taken.

- Many officials accuse citizens of irresponsibility due to this situation. Is it because of the government's decisions that the situation in Azerbaijan has not changed for the better, or because of civil disobedience?

- It is useful for citizens to be responsible. Citizens must use masks, maintain social distance, and follow hygienic rules. But there is more of a problem in informing citizens than their guilt. I repeat. In those countries, why they achieve better results is because there is communication between the society and the government and there is trust in the government agencies involved in this work. In our country, the illogicality of frequent changes in the decisions taken by the Operational Headquarters almost breaks the link between citizens and the Operational Headquarters. That is, there is an atmosphere of distrust. Naturally, those who believe in conspiracy theories, as well as Turkish and Russian TV channels, and public discussions played a role in the emergence of this mistrust. But the state must be able to convince. It was so important that well-known and respected people often appeared on television and send messages to people. The lack or weakness of these communication lines made citizens irresponsible too. Some citizens are really irresponsible in this matter. This is one of the most serious obstacles to overcome the virus.

-What do you offer? What further steps can the government take to overcome the situation?

- Now Azerbaijan is in a very serious situation. Both the number of virus infections is growing and there are serious problems in the economy. These problems are likely to deepen in the future. If we approach both philosophically and politically, the way out is the distribution of both powers and responsibilities. In other words, the president and the government are now in full control of their powers and the responsibility falls entirely on the president. This is not acceptable at the moment. Therefore, a large round table should be set up with serious consideration. A round table should be set up with the participation of political parties, civil society, experts, scientists, and the president. This round table can have several panels. In other words, it may be related to medicine, economy, political reforms, more social messages to the society, and so on. Having a roundtable discussion with the President would be better in terms of sending positive messages to citizens about solving economic and social problems, better-receiving messages in society, and achieving more serious results in terms of improving governance through political reforms. Most importantly, it should serve to build trust and confidence between society and government. You need a big brainstorming to find a way out. In this case, there will be no unpleasant images, no civil confrontation with the police. The shame at the border will not be experienced again. The incident against Azerbaijani citizens at the border is a disgrace to the country. The round table can play a very important role in solving all social, economic, and political issues. It will allow us to find a common way out of these problems.

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