Fifth wave of Covid-19 hits Azerbaijan
Fifth wave of Covid-19 in Azerbaijan
The number of cases of coronavirus infection detected per day in Azerbaijan has sharply increased. The Ministry of Health says that almost half of the new cases are infected with the Omicron strain. According to the expert, the healthcare system in the country may soon face a shortage of hospital beds. Meanwhile, the quarantine period for patients with Covid-19 infection has been halved.
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Omicron-fuelled growth of cases
In recent days, the number of new cases of coronavirus infection detected per day in Azerbaijan has increased several times. So, if a week earlier this figure was less than 1,000 cases, then on January 25 it reached 2,468. The increase in cases of infection over the past two days was about 50%.
According to the Minister of Health of Azerbaijan, Teymur Musayev, almost half of the new cases of Covid-19 infection are infected with the Omicron strain.
Thus, it can be argued that a new, fifth wave of the coronavirus epidemic has begun.
Expert warns of possible shortage of hospital beds
Doctor Vasif Ismail predicts an unprecedented increase in the number of infections for Azerbaijan in the near future.
“The second wave of the epidemic was the most dangerous and destructive for Azerbaijan in terms of the number of infections and deaths. It came at the end of 2020. At that time, the maximum daily infections were about 4,500 cases and about 60,000 active patients.
At that time, the country’s healthcare system coped with such a flow of patients only because many ordinary hospitals were reclassified as covid ones.
Now we are faced with an epidemic of the omicron strain, which is spreading many times faster than its predecessors. This means that the number of new infections detected per day can reach the level of 10,000-12,000. At the same time, active patients will no longer be 60,000, but 150,000.
In other words, the healthcare system in Azerbaijan may be in a state of collapse and there will not be enough hospital beds for all those in need. I’m not talking about people with other diseases. After all, cardiological, endocrine and oncological diseases did not disappear. Such patients should also receive timely medical care. But with such expected numbers, this can become a big problem”, the specialist said.
Authorities may consider lockdown
In the latest briefing of the operational headquarters for the fight against coronavirus under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan on December 28, 2021, Presidential Aide Shahmar Movsumov noted that a lockdown could be announced based on the situation with the epidemic.
The lockdown in Azerbaijan was completely lifted on October 1, 2021. On that day, after a year and a half ban, theaters, cinemas and some other places of recreation were reopened.
Until now, the country continues a special quarantine regime. Visiting indoor establishments is only allowed if a person has a Covid passport, and wearing a mask there is mandatory. Catering establishments are open until 00:00, weddings are allowed only if the established rules are observed (no more than 150 guests, COVID-passport is checked at the entrance). Funerals are prohibited.
From February 15, closed premises in Azerbaijan will be available only to those who have been vaccinated with the third booster dose of the vaccine. Also, a Covid passport will be valid for those who received the second dose of the vaccine no more than 6 months ago.
Quarantine period cut in half
From January 24, 2022, in Azerbaijan, by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, the quarantine period for those infected with Covid-19 has been reduced from 14 to 7 days. This rule applies to both new cases of infection and those that were detected before the start of the current week.
According to Farrukh Sadirov, chief infectious disease specialist at the Baku City Clinical Medical Center, many countries have reduced the quarantine period as well:
“Recent studies show that the period of incubation and contagiousness of the disease is 6-7 days. After this period, the patient cannot infect others”.
Sadirov added that the reason for the new decision on the duration of the quarantine was the spread of the Omicron strain, which is rapidly spreading, but is relatively easily tolerated.
The dynamics of detection of cases of coronavirus infection in the countries of the Caucasus can be found here.
Vaccination in Azerbaijan
In Azerbaijan, four types of vaccines are available for citizens of the country – Sinovac (China), Sputnik V (Russia), AstraZeneca (Anglo-Swedish) and Pfizer (USA-Germany).
According to official information, as of January 25, 47.3% of the total number of the population has been vaccinated with both doses of one of the vaccines available in the country, 52.2% with only one dose.
The third, booster, dose has already been administered to 18.9% of the total population of Azerbaijan.