DRI: More Effective Work is Needed to deal with the Pandemic in the Occupied Territories
According to the Democracy Research Institute, due to the pandemic, the situation in the occupied regions is critical. Gali and Akhalgori clinics still do not have COVID-19 infection diagnostic tools and disinfectants for primary necessity.

According to media reports, during the pandemic the Abkhaz de-facto agency received two humanitarian assistance from international organizations, which was distributed to Sokhumi Infectious Disease Hospital and Tuberculosis Dispanser, where in future the treatment for COVID-19 infected patients is planned. [1] However, the statement does not say anything about the Gali District Hospital and its staff which serves about 25,000 people. The hospital needs upgraded medical equipment and should be provided with emergency medical supplies in order to deliver comprehensive on-site medical examinations and adequate medical care to patients.

According to the information the organization was provided with, Gali Central Hospital staff have not received any recommendations or equipment to date, nor have they been interested in admissions or epidemiology statistics.

On the other hand, it is alarming that most of the population in the Gali district have problems with the documents. This means that if the symptoms of COVID-19 are detected, Sokhumi clinics might not receive them. In case of the closure of the checkpoints, people with medical needs will not be able to move to the Georgian controlled territory, thus, it is critically important to provide Gali Hospital with the medical equipment needed to combat the pandemic.

The situation is similar in occupied Akhalgori, where according to recent reports, five patients are in the quarantine zone. Including one patient in the isolation ward of Akhalgori Maternity Hospital, where the quarantine space is arranged for seven patients [2]. According to the organization, neither in the hospital nor in the isolation ward sanitary norms are not adhered to; Disinfection has not been carried out in the hospital to date; Medical personnel who have contact with the admitted patients are working without masks and special equipment. They still do not have the necessary antibacterial, disinfectant and diagnostic products.

The organization welcomes the statement of the Georgian State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili that the Georgian authorities are not going to "abandon our population in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions in the face of the world pandemic" and are working intensively using all communication channels to take some preventative measures in the occupied territories [3].

The Democracy Research Institute believes that in view of the above difficulties, in order to make the health care under the pandemic more accessible, it is necessary to work more effectively to deliver the aid to the de facto agencies. In addition, for the purpose of helping the population living in the occupied regions, it is important to develop additional mechanisms, including the use of all available resources and communication channels to provide the Gali and Akhalgori clinics with the tools needed to combat the pandemic.



[1] Elections and bans: the Ministry of Health of Abkhazia spoke about protective measures against coronavirus
[2] "Situation in Tskhinvali: Transcaucasian Highway Closed", Goga Aptsiauri, Radio Liberty
[3] Ketevan Tsikhelashvili - We are not going to abandon our population in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions in the face of world pandemic, 14.03.2020,