New restrictions for unvaccinated citizens come into force in Azerbaijan
On September 1, new restrictions for citizens unvaccinated against coronavirus came into force in Azerbaijan. At first, it was announced that people who had not been vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine would not be allowed into indoor public spaces, however, later the restrictions were slightly altered.
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On August 20, during a briefing of the operational headquarters for the fight against coronavirus under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan, new restrictions on the rules of the quarantine regime starting from September 1 were announced. In particular, from the first day of September, citizens without a COVID passport were to be prohibited from visiting large shopping centers, cafes and restaurants (closed premises), as well as hotels.
COVID passport is an electronic document that is issued to two groups of citizens. The first group is eligible to receive a COVID passport with no expiration date – those who received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine. The second group – those who have recovered from the coronavirus, receive a COVID passport valid for six months. Six months later, these persons should be vaccinated.
Unexpected statement of Ministry of Internal Affairs
On 23 August, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan hastened to reassure the citizens by announcing that from September 1, all those who received at least one dose of the vaccine will be able to visit the closed public premises.
On the morning of September 1, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a completely different statement: only those who received both doses of the vaccine can visit closed premises, i.e. those with a COVID passport.
From the morning of September 1, long queues were formed in front of the malls: the controllers did not have time to check the COVID passports of visitors. But not in all institutions, employees were issued a special program for checking the QR code of the electronic document of vaccinated, and in such cafes and restaurants they demanded a paper version of the COVID passport.
An incident has occurred when a resident of Baku, Eshgin Aliyev, signed up for vaccinations in a mall located in the center of Baku (vaccination points operate in some large shopping centers). But he was not allowed to enter the mall because E. Aliyev could not present his COVID passport.
What happened in the evening?
Since the morning of September 1, users of social media have expressed their dissatisfaction with the new measures. According to them, the decision was made on August 20, and until September 1 it was impossible to get vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine.
In the late afternoon, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, a member of the headquarters Shahmar Movsumov made a statement that was sharply different from the morning statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Movsumov noted that from September 1, catering establishments in enclosed spaces and malls can be visited by everyone who has been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. As early as October 1, a second dose will also be required.
The news quickly spread on social media. But it is not yet clear which the statement will ultimately be decisive – that of the interior ministry or the presidential aide.
“From today, rules on COVID passports have come into force, which are contrary to the constitution and violate the rights of citizens.
I am completely sure that these senseless rules will soon be canceled, but for now they are in force. We demand at least the fair fulfillment of the requirements of these rules. For example, a COVID passport can be presented in the closed parts of cafes and restaurants but for the open parts of catering establishments this senseless requirement simply cannot apply!
We have started the legal procedure, we will send an appeal on this rule to the constitutional court, and see how they explain this. Such an appeal is necessary for law, for history”, one of the leaders of the Azerbaijani opposition Republican Alternative party, Natik Jafarli, wrote on his Facebook page.