Why Azerbaijan does not lift Covid-19 quarantine measures
Quarantine measures in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan has a practically zero death rate from coronavirus, the number of new infections per day does not exceed 15-20 cases. However, quarantine has not been canceled, and people are still being fined for not wearing masks indoors and cannot enter shopping centers without a COVID passport.
- Georgia reports no Covid deaths in the last 24 hours
- Covid-19 cases decrease in Armenia despite low vaccination rates
- Azerbaijan: 50% of Covid passports will no longer be valid from February 15
In an interview with the Azerbaijani edition of JAMnews, infectious disease doctor Ibrahim Hasanzade spoke about an unprecedented challenge in the history of world healthcare and the likelihood of new outbreaks of COVID-19 infection.
The Azerbaijani government is demonstrating enviable restraint in lifting the quarantine imposed two years ago due to the coronavirus pandemic. Land borders with neighboring states are still closed, it is prohibited to visit enclosed spaces without medical masks, and shopping centers, cafes, and restaurants, theaters and cinemas require the presentation of a COVID passport indicating vaccination with three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“To be honest, Covid-19 induced quarantine in Azerbaijan should have been canceled a few months ago, when the daily level of of new cases fell below 200-300 cases.
Everyone remembers very well that in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning in our country, quarantine was introduced only after this figure exceeded several hundred. Back then, there were no vaccines yet, everything felt rather uncertain and scary. Compared to that period, everything is different now – there are vaccines, there is a clear understanding of the disease, there are treatment methods developed over two years”, the specialist says.
“The fact that today all land borders of the country with neighboring states remain closed, people are still required to weak masks in public transport and indoors and are asked to present a Covid passport (confirming vaccination with two doses and a booster) at the entrance to shopping centers and cinemas worries the society.
Just this morning, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced raids, during which they will check whether passengers comply with quarantine requirements in public transport. Violators are threatened with fines. I don’t understand this. Most countries, including neighboring ones, have canceled all quarantine measures. And we are still being fined for non-compliance”, the doctor says.
According to the expert, for quite some time the whole world has witnessed an unprecedented event in the history of medicine:
“Never before in the history of mankind and medicine in particular, one of the phases of the trial of any medical drug has been carried out on such a grandiose scale around the world. This will be included in all textbooks in the future, I have no doubt. I am talking about coronavirus vaccines.
After all, how do vaccines actually appear? Let’s just say, according to the rules, the laws of medicine.
The first phase of the trial involves a limited number of volunteers. They determine the correct dose of the drug, the immune response, and the safety of the drug.
In the second phase, the drug is already being tested on patients, i.e. on volunteers from the group for whom the vaccine is intended. We are talking about hundreds of test subjects. In parallel, other people in a control group are given a placebo to compare the results.
During the third phase of the trial, thousands of sick volunteers and a control group are involved. Based on the results of this phase, experts draw conclusions: is the vaccine suitable for mass use or not.
This whole process usually takes about 5 years.
And what happened with the coronavirus? The first data on vaccines appeared at the end of 2020. But mankind did not have 5 years to wait for test results. And the first two phases took place in record time, which means in violation of the norms, and everyone proceeded to the third phase.
But it was not about thousands of volunteers. There was not even a control group. Millions, hundreds of millions were vaccinated. In most cases, vaccination took place on a voluntary basis. After all, no one wanted to sit at home, not even being able to go to work indefinitely. And if you wanted to go somewhere, you needed to get vaccinated.
The results of this unprecedented vaccine trial, again, judging by the rules of medicine, we will know only by the end of 2025 – the beginning of 2026. Only then can these vaccines, whose names are known to literally everyone, be called full-fledged medicines”, Hasanzade said.
Speaking about the end of the era of coronavirus, the doctor advises not to rush to any conclusions:
“All of us, including me, want this nightmare to end for good. But not everything is so simple. Probably, many have seen footage from China, where a new strain of COVID-19 has been identified. Again, people in special protective uniforms catch the infected on the streets, entire cities are forced into a lockdown.
I hope these facts will not lead to a new wave of the pandemic, but everyone needs to be careful and not relax too much”.