Become an OC Media Member

Support independent journalism in the Caucasus: Join today

Become a member

Coronavirus live updates | Georgian government will begin to cover utility fees

1 April 2020
Caption: Utility meter. Photo: Peter Liakhov/OC Media.

The latest stories:

How have you been affected by the coronavirus crisis? We would like to hear from you. Get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, or email at contact@oc-media.org.

01 Apr 2020, 20:10

That’s it for today, join us again tomorrow for more Coronavirus live updates.

01 Apr 2020, 20:09

All online sales, except food, banned in Georgia due to curfew

The Georgian government has temporarily banned all online sales except for food, until the state of emergency ends on 21 April. 

As all economic activities are suspended, on 1 April, the Georgian government published a list of the companies, who will be able to continue functioning during the state of emergency. The list includes mining companies, transportation companies, and companies producing face masks, among others.

01 Apr 2020, 20:07

Chechnya completely closes its administrative borders

The Chechen authorities decided to completely close the administrative borders for entry and exit from April 5.

‘From April 5, not a single vehicle will exit the region,’ Regnum reports parliament speaker Magomed Daudov saying. 

Only those who need to leave for urgent treatment will be allowed to leave Chechnya, and only if they receive special permission from the Operational Headquarters of Chechnya.

Grozny-Inform reports that Ramzan Kadyrov has called on Moscow to allow local governments to ‘resolve issues on the ground’.

Kadyrov has accused the central authorities of ‘delaying’ permission for strict quarantine measures.

01 Apr 2020, 19:52

Nalchik City Hall partially closes stalls in the city's markets.

The city hall of Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria has decided to close some of the stalls in the city's markets.

TASS reports, citing the mayor's office, that business owners will not have to pay rent for the period of shutdown.

In ‘Tsentralny’, the main market of the city, only four stalls would operate, those selling meat, chicken, vegetables and confectionery. In the ‘Nalchik’ market in the district of Dubki, most stalls have also been closed.

The mayor’s office assured the public that these markets have the ability to comply with COVID-19 prevention measures.

01 Apr 2020, 18:42

Daghestan reportedly closes-off cities 

Starting 1 April, entry restrictions have been enforced in several cities in Daghestan, the local newspaper Chernovik reports, citing local residents.

Entry to the cities of Buynaksk, Kizilyurt, Khasavyurt, Derbent, Kaspiysk has been restricted. 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Daghestan has not yet commented on this information, the newspaper said.

In a video published by Chernovik, a resident of the city of Khasavyurt, says that the highway is blocked and nobody is allowed to enter the city.


01 Apr 2020, 18:03

Chechen officials to transfer half of their salaries to medical workers in the republic

The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, wrote in his Telegram channel that he supported the initiative ‘to transfer half of each monthly salary to the support doctors and nurses’.

According to him, the officials of all levels of government of the republic turned to him with the proposal.

01 Apr 2020, 17:33

17 people fined in Georgia for breaking curfew 

Seventeen people were fined for breaking curfew on its very first night. 

Georgia’s Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri told journalists that there 350 people and as many as 15 legal entities (e.g. stores) had been fined for violating state of emergency restrictions.

‘We were expecting more violations but, yesterday, the day the curfew came into force only 17 violations were observed in all of Georgia’, he said. ‘It surprised even us.’ 

According to the rules of the curfew, from 21:00 to 06:00 every day, people will be prohibited from leaving their homes. Anyone caught breaking curfew faces a fine of ₾3,000 ($910) or ₾15,000 ($4,500) for a legal entity.

Read more: In pictures | Tbilisi’s first night under curfew

01 Apr 2020, 17:24

Georgian government to negotiate with Church on Easter services policy during curfew

The government of Georgia will begin negotiations with the Georgian Orthodox Church about how Easter will be celebrated in the country’s churches during the curfew, which bans citizens from leaving their homes from 21:00 to 06:00.

According to Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri, they will announce a decision after the negotiations are complete. 

‘There are two weeks to go till then and nobody knows what the situation is going to be then’,  Gomelauri said.

01 Apr 2020, 17:07

Two more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Kabardino-Balkaria 

Disinfection of dormitories in Nalchik. Photo: Website of Nalchik City Hall.

Another two cases of novel coronavirus infection were registered in Kabardino-Balkaria. There have been a total of eight confirmed infections.

In Nalchik, 38 dormitories were also disinfected. A number of public amenities were also sanitised. 

The city mayor recommended that housing management companies, homeowners' associations and housing construction cooperatives conduct similar measures to combat the epidemic.

01 Apr 2020, 15:38

First patient dies in Chechnya

In Chechnya, the first patient with coronavirus has died. The deceased is a woman born in 1938, who arrived in the republic from Moscow.

01 Apr 2020, 15:14

Georgia to start testing patients with COVID-19 symptoms having no connection with travel

Georgian health officials have determined three groups who will be eligible for testing for COVID-19.

According to Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia, the first group will be those who have clinical symptoms of the novel coronavirus and have travelled recently or have had contact with people who have travelled recently. 

The second group are people who haven’t travelled, but still have symptoms. They will be held in ‘fever clinics’ for 24 hours for ‘assessment and management’.

The third group are high-risk patients, such as medical personnel and people living in institutions, for example, retirement homes. 

01 Apr 2020, 15:08

Four new cases in Stavropol Krai

COVID-19 has been confirmed in four more people in Stavropol Krai, Governor Vladimir Vladimirov wrote on his Instagram page. A total of ten cases have been confirmed in the region. One person has recovered.

01 Apr 2020, 14:54

Georgian government will begin to cover utility fees

Caption: Utility meter. Photo: Peter Liakhov/OC Media.

The government of  Georgia will fully cover utility bills for those consuming less than 200 kW of electricity and less than 200 cubic metres of gas. According to Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, water and cleaning fees will also be fully covered.

The relief will concern utility charges in March, April and May.

According to the Minister of Economy Maia Tskitishvili, 1.2 million families will benefit from the coverage of electricity bills and 671 from the coverage of gas bills. 

Gakharia has also stated that these measures are ‘not enough’, and that the government is working on measures to assist those who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This is all part of a ₾2 billion ($600 million) package to ‘directly support the Georgian economy’.

01 Apr 2020, 12:36

Two more cases confirmed in Dagestan 

According to the Rospotrebnadzor, two more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Daghestan. 

Fifteen cases have been confirmed in total. 

At the moment, 857 people, including 12 elderly people over 65, are in quarantine.

01 Apr 2020, 11:45

As the republic goes into self-isolation, Daghestan cuts taxes 

As Daghestan is switching to a regime of complete self-isolation today, the head of the republic, Vladimir Vasiliyev, is reducing tax rates for entrepreneurs.

Taxes are halved from 6% to 3% for farmers and for anyone who falls under the simplified tax system. In the field of social entrepreneurship and information technology, the tax will be reduced to 1%.

The property tax of legal entities is reduced from 1.5% to 1%, and rent payments for state property were delayed until June 1.

Taxes will also be reduced for tourism and industrial production.

01 Apr 2020, 11:23

First two cases of COVID-19 confirmed in North Ossetia

In the early hours of 1 April, Viacheslav Bitarov, the Head of North Ossetia–Alania, confirmed that two local residents were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 and called on the public to remain calm. 

In his address, Bitarov said that their condition was 'satisfactory' and that everyone who had been in contact with them was under observation.

The head of North Ossetia also announced a 'regime of obligatory self-isolation', urging all citizens to remain home unless absolutely necessary. 

Viacheslav Bitarov also urged North Ossetians who had recently returned to the Republic to self-isolate or they would ‘face the most severe measures by law enforcement agencies’, including, according to him, upcoming stricter penalties reflected in amendments adopted by the Russian State Duma.

01 Apr 2020, 10:45

In pictures | Tbilisi’s first night under curfew

A woman sleeps inside a Bank of Georgia ATM area. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

The nationwide curfew was announced by the government on 30 March as part of efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

See more in our photo-story: 

In pictures | Tbilisi’s first night under curfew

01 Apr 2020, 10:40

Armenia’s State Commission declares stricter restrictions on movement

Late last night Armenia’s State Commission on the State of Emergency introduced stricter restrictions on movement that will come into force starting at midnight tonight and will last until 13 April.

All public transport both within and between municipalities will be shut down, with the exception of trains. Taxis will still be permitted to work. 

Those who continue to go to work are now required to carry a special form filled in by their employer.

Special checkpoints will be set up at different locations at 13:00 today, to monitor the movement of people and vehicles.

01 Apr 2020, 09:00


Welcome to OC Media’s coronavirus live updates for Wednesday, 1 April. We will be bringing you the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the Caucasus.

The biggest developments from yesterday:

Armenia’s parliament passed a controversial surveillance bill hours after voting against it The bill gives the state the power to gather information on where, when and by whom citizens receive communications. 

The Bright Armenia faction, which was not present for the vote, said they were not informed of the session, a claim the governing My Step faction denied.  

Parliamentary and presidential elections were held in Nagorno-Karabakh despite some calls to postpone them.

Kabardino-Balkaria, Adygea, Ingushetia, and Karachay-Cherkessia, went into lockdown, prohibiting people from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons.

Georgia erected checkpoints at the borders of Telavi and Akhaltsikhe municipalities, adding them to 6 other municipalities and the city of Tbilisi that are under tight control. 

Azerbaijan introduced additional measures, asking people to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine, seek urgent medical care, or go to work and closing down a raft of businesses. 

A 53-year-old woman who was transported from Abkhazia’s Gali (Gal) district to Zugdidi on 29 March tested positive for the coronavirus. Two children with high temperatures were transferred from the same village to Zugdidi hospital for testing and treatment. 

Read more from yesterday as well as the latest stories: