Holiday season in Abkhazia and the coronavirus surge
Restrictive measures have been extended in Abkhazia until February 10 in connection with an increase in coronavirus infections. However, the public considers the measures insufficient and is demanding a sharp tightening of quarantine measures.
The decree was signed on January 13 by President Aslan Bzhania, who himself has just recovered from Covid-19. Schools, sports centers, cafes, restaurants, theaters and museums will remain closed. Any mass events and celebrations, including weddings, are prohibited.
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From the beginning of the pandemic to January 13, 9,961 cases of coronavirus infection have been detected in Abkhazia.
142 people have died, 7,506 have recovered. These figures are very significant for a small republic with a population of about 250,000 people. Leading doctors and many prominent activists have signed a letter to the government demanding more drastic measures.
In their opinion, there is no objective picture in Abkhazia, which should be based on an analysis of the spread of the disease in the regions. In addition, they say, PCR tests are enough when the requirement to wear masks is massively violated, and massive corporate and family events continue.
“Formal information reports on the increase in the number of sick and dead, without assessing the current crisis situation in Abkhazia, disorient citizens who, not seeing the danger, begin to demand the opening of educational institutions,” the open letter says.
There are no more places in hospitals
Odik Kakaliya was admitted to the Sukhumi infectious diseases hospital on December 31. High fever, shortness of breath, in general, are all typical symptoms of Covid-19.
After 10 days of intensive and costly therapy, he was sent home. Still weak, with dizziness and unstable pressure. Relatives speculate that this is due to the lack of places in the Covid centers.
Alkhas Jinjolia, MP and member of the coronavirus coordination headquarters, says the number of infections has skyrocketed since the New Year holidays. Mass events, which were formally prohibited on New Year’s Eve, took place in most restaurants.
The city squares around the Christmas tree were filled with people during the holidays. Thousands of holidaymakers from Russia came to Abkhazia on vacation. “Now, for every hospital bed that becomes available, we have several new patients, and all of them are in serious condition”, says Jinjolia. According to reports of the operational headquarters, which are published daily, every fourth test is positive. The number of deaths reaches four per day.
Prime Minister Alexander Ankvab also became infected and he was transferred to a hospital in Moscow. Hospital beds are not the only problem, says Jinjolia. There is also an acute shortage of working hands: “Each department needs a resuscitator, but we do not have them physically.”
The number of visits to doctors for other diseases has also increased, and this is also provoked by the coronavirus, since people need the next medical stage in follow-up treatment. On January 18, the business trip of Russian military doctors ends, and the field hospital, which now receives patients at the Aytar Hotel, will be closed.
“When they leave, another 50-60 patients will fall on us who need intensive care, and what are we going to do with them,” says Jinjolia. There are 36 patients in the Sukhumi infectious diseases hospital, the hospital cannot accept more than this number.
There are 89 people in the Gudauta hospital, while the staff will be enough to service no more than 100 patients at a time. Laboratories work almost around the clock. But despite everything, Alkhas Jinjolia believes that the situation with Covid-19 in Abkhazia is better than that of its neighbors. “Our small size allows us to better control what is happening with the disease.
People even started buying antibiotics and dexamethasone from our pharmacies and exporting them to Sochi for sale, as these drugs are in short supply there. Therefore, we have to establish norms for dispensing drugs from pharmacies so that speculators do not buy everything. ”
And people keep on celebrating
Meanwhile, the population continues to celebrate the big New Year’s holidays. On January 13 , Abkhazia will celebrate ‘Old New Year’, which in Abkhazia is associated with pagan traditions, when the entire family gathers in one house and celebrates the important holiday of Hichhuam per the Abkhaz calendar.
Doctors are confident that more infections and deaths from the coronavirus will result.
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