Azerbaijan: quarantine regime tightens, people confused by new restrictions
Restrictions on leaving the house and disinfection of streets meet with confusion and indignation
Azerbaijan has further tightened the quarantine regime to combat the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. People are asked to “stay at home,” but they don’t understand where they are and are not permitted to go.
Official data from the morning of March 31 states that 273 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Azerbaijan. Four of them have died, and 26 have recovered.
On March 30, the operational headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers announced that from now on, people are required to stay in their homes, leaving them only in certain special cases – to go to the doctor or the store, throw out the trash or go to work. At the same time, they advise people to shop for groceries in the stores nearests them.
The new restrictions will be in effect until April 20.
During this same period, most businesses and organizations will have to cease operations. Only food stores and pharmacies, manufacturing and agricultural enterprises, banks, the post office, medical facilities, public utilities and social services, as well as dry cleaners, car services and car washes, veterinary clinics and stores selling pet products will remain open.
Judging by the reaction people had on social media, many did not understand what they are now permitted to do and what is forbidden. Is it okay for example, to go to the bank, or a couple blocks down the street to get fresh meat at the market? And if dry cleaners are open, are you allowed to clean your winter coat, and this is also considered a necessity?
Some people are also puzzled why all these measures are still called an “enhanced quarantine regime” and not a “state of emergency,” although on March 30, in addition to the police, internal military forces also began patrolling the streets.
And there are two types of videos that have been gaining popularity on social media.
The first is of people in special overalls disinfecting the streets of Baku. It is rather cinematic, especially if you add the appropriate music. Many people find the videos to be quite amusing.
The second type of video, on the contrary, causes outrage. They are of crowds of people gathered at metro stations and full train cars – exactly the opposite of the social distancing people should be doing during a quarantine. This is all because of the fact that the Baku metro now opens later than usual and runs for only a few hours a day.
Another reason for the public indignation is that the authorities still have not figured out how to support those who are most affected by the epidemic and the quarantine regime: small and medium-sized businesses, and people who have lost their jobs and livelihoods.