No one is talking about the second wave of coronavirus infection in Azerbaijan
After the recent fall in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Azerbaijan, the number rose again sharply and has remained high for almost a week. But, judging by media and social networks, neither officials nor the public are particularly concerned. The country is gradually emerging from the quarantine.
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A second wave is coming, but everything is under control
Official statistics from May 12 report that there are 104 new cases of coronavirus and one more death. The total number of cases is now at 2693, 33 of which have died, and 1735 have recovered.
Recently, the daily number of recoveries has been significantly exceeded the number of new cases. Experts said that the peak of infection was already over, and the media boasted about how quickly and deftly Azerbaijan defeated the coronavirus, publishing numerous “thank you letters” to President Ilham Aliyev from the country’s citizens.
Now the picture is changing, the daily infection rate is almost double the rate of recovery, and all signs suggest that the second wave of infection has either begun or is about to begin.
But the authorities and journalists are still full of pride and optimism, and for some reason, they still continue to publish their letters of gratitude.
It seems that the citizens became tired of the statistics and quarantine, and simply gave up on following safety measures. In fact, this is the reason the authorities give for the second wave of infection.
Key points voiced by the cabinet and the president:
- The second wave of infection is inevitable as we lift the quarantine, but we are ready for it;
- Overall, the country’s inhabitants are careless and irresponsible, they do not wear masks, they do not social distance, and this is why they become infected;
- Nothing terrible is happening, everything is under control, and Azerbaijan is coping with the virus very well – better than many other countries.
You can go shopping and to the hair salon, but only with SMS permission
Officially, the quarantine regime in Azerbaijan is in effect until May 31. But it has already become much milder than before: all the stores (except for shopping centers), beauty salons and photo studios have reopened, and in most regions, even cafes and restaurants have been opened and the restrictions on the movement of citizens have been lifted.
In Baku, public transport began running again, the subway started working again on May 9, and buses have continued to run throughout the quarantine.
At the same time, parks, squares and public recreation areas in the capital are still closed, and in order to leave the house, people must have a certificate of employment or get permission via SMS from the authorities.
The permission slip is issued for three hours a day, but this is enough to fill the streets with people, the buses overflowing like in the good old pre-quarantine rush hours.
Unemployed, rich, dead – everyone gets $112
So far, the greatest uproar has been caused by the one-time compensation payment given to those who were left without work due to the quarantine. The allowance of 190 manat [approximately $112] per month was handed out to 600,000 people (although the true number of unemployed is much greater).
This sum is being given for two months: in April and May. And since the very first day this was announced, the disputes, indignation and resentment surrounding this aid package have not ceased.
Every now and then, social media posts claim that among those who received this money are very wealthy people who simply did not have any officially work.
Moreover, some of those receiving aid are actually dead (this was discovered by examining the list of people who received money, which is available online).
There were also several cases of fraud involving the social benefits. And in order to get a card to have the money transfered, large crowds of people once again gather around the banks, without any social distancing or masks.