DRI: Humanitarian Situation in the Occupied Regions is Deteriorating under the Pandemic
Even though delayed, the de facto authorities have announced some restrictions against the threat of a novel coronavirus infection spread in the occupied regions of Georgia. The restrictions in the occupied regions came into force on March 28 and will continue until the end of April.

According to the information the organization was provided with, transport movement in the Tskhinvali region is banned. Only inner-city movement is permitted. Educational institutions are closed. Citizens who have bank loan will be given relief during a state of emergency. Residents of the region were urged to refrain from crowded festivities and funerals. Employees of public services and organizations are not allowed to leave the territory of the de facto republic during the state of emergency. Departure from the region will be possible only in case of medical need or business trip [1].

Unlike Tskhinvali, on March 28 the curfew announcement was added to the existing restrictions in Gali. According to a decree on declaring a state of emergency on the territory of Abkhazia, the district heads were given the right to impose a curfew. The aforementioned regulation prohibits movement from 00:00 to 06:00 and will last until April 20, until the end of the state of emergency [2].

According to the DRI, as a result of the enforced restrictions and the increased hospital visits caused by seasonal respiratory infections, diagnostic and response procedures in the Gali district clinics are complicated. There is a shortage of both medical supplies and first aid medicines, which impedes quality medical care. The transfer of patients to Zugdidi is associated with a number of obstacles.

According to media reports, the Abkhaz de-facto authorities did not allow the second patient, who was together with a woman hospitalized in Zugdidi Infectious Disease Hospital, to Georgia and this patient was taken to Sokhumi Hospital [3].
According to the latest information, the first reported cases of coronavirus infection in the occupied regions were reported on March 30, with dozens of people in isolation. There are 77 persons in quarantine in so-called South Ossetia, nine of whom are in Tskhinvali and three in Akhalgori Hospitals, the remaining 66 persons are in home isolation [4]. It is noteworthy that individuals in self-isolation are not monitored, and in most cases, local residents report violations of isolation.

As reported to the organization, three patients in Akhalgori hospital have fever, but they have not been examined so far.
Despite restrictions entry into force, as reported to DRI, public awareness of the pandemic in Akhalgori is still very low. The Red Cross has put up some Russian-language posters in the region, but the population is not paying much attention and many are not even reading them, which is often due to their lack of knowledge of Russian.

The closure of the Sinaguri and Mosabruni checkpoints has the worst impact on some 400 pensioners who have been unable to move to the Georgian-controlled territory since February to get their pension. The occupation regime blocked the road for them for two months on February 7.
Apart from restrictions imposed by the de facto authorities, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will also be affected by the restrictions imposed by Russia. It is unclear how South Ossetia will be supplied with products, as it was usually done by private individuals. According to the de facto republic’s news agency Resi, restrictions may affect the supply of bread flour [5]. This will also lead to an increase in the prices of medicines and food, which will have a severe impact on the humanitarian situation of the population in isolation.

Contact persons provided the Democracy Research Institute with the information about the situation in the occupied regions.

[1] Radio Liberty, "Emergency measures are tightening in the occupied Tskhinvali region"
[2] Curfew was introduced in the occupied Abkhazia, Gali district,
[3] No Patient was allowed to pass from Occupied Abkhazia to Zugdidi,
[4] According to the Media Report, 77 Persons are being monitored on Coronavirus in the Occupied South Ossetia,
[5] "South Ossetia will not be left without bread",