The Embassy of Russia in the occupied Georgian region of Abkhazia has urged its citizens to use face masks and gloves, and to maintain social distance in public spaces due to the worsening COVID-19 epidemic situation in the region.
Those with symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
Georgia’s Russian-occupied Abkhazia confirmed 14 new cases of the coronavirus on August 1.
RFE/RL reports that the so-called border with breakaway Abkhazia and Russia was opened ‘unconditionally’ on August 1, which has raised fears amongst the local population that the number of new COVID-19 cases will increase in the region.
The de facto ministry of health also expressed its concerns regarding the issue, The Deputy Minister of Health Alkhas Konjaria stated on August 2 that if the border opened, medics would not be able to assist many patients in the region. Later, de facto Prime Minister of Abkhazia Alexander Ankvab criticised epidemiologists and medics, which made officials from the health ministry later release a statement, saying ‘nobody was against opening the so-called border with Russia.’
Travel agencies in the breakaway Abkhazia predict that up to 350,000 Russian tourists may arrive in the region this summer.
Local media agencies report that most of the new coronavirus cases have been imported into occupied Abkhazia from Russia.
In most cases, the newly infected individuals were students of Russian military academies.