Abkhazia continues to take measures to prevent the spread of coronovirus infection.

As of April 6, not a single case of coronavirus infection was detected in Abkhazia; active work is ongoing in the Republic to prevent the spread of infection.  The current situation with COVID-19 was discussed at a meeting of the Coordination Headquarters to protect the population from coronavirus infection (created March 18, 2020 under the chairmanship of Acting President Valery Bganba - ed.) on Monday.

“Measures need to be strengthened in areas where gaps exist”

The Acting President instructed the Coordination Headquarters to develop a decree on the mandatory isolation of all those entering the territory of Abkhazia.  He noted that a week has passed since the introduction of the state of emergency.

 “During this period, the necessary services and structures have done the necessary work to protect the population from coronavirus infection.  In some areas, the work is clear and harmonious, in some places there are gaps, and measures need to be strengthened,” said the Acting President.

The meeting was addressed by the head of the Coronavirus Infection Control Headquarters, Minister of Health Tamaz Tsakhnakia.  He said that 86 studies were conducted over the whole period to identify coronavirus, of which 4 with dubious results underwent a second study.  He added that all the results were negative.

 “In the coming days, the Ministry of Health should receive another 600 tests,” said Tsakhnakia.

At the meeting, a member of the Coordination Headquarters to protect the population from coronavirus infection, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, Daur Kove, also spoke. He noted that various international organizations are also ready to assist Abkhazia in the fight against coronavirus infection.

“For example, UNDP (United Nations Development Program - ed.) is ready to allocate a substantial amount for the implementation by the UNDP Abkhaz branch of programs to protect the population from coronavirus infection,” he said.

Details of testing for COVID-19 and training for physicians

Alisa Matua, a member of the operational headquarters, head of the laboratory of immunology and virology, deputy director for scientific research at the Research Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia, told about how research is being conducted in the Republic to detect coronavirus infection.  She noted that the whole process is divided into several stages.

At the initial stage, doctors take the biological material from the bronchi of the lungs, sputum, blood and urine, as well as swabs from the nose and oropharynx.  Next, the collected biomaterial is sent to the laboratory of the Sanitary and Epidemiological Station, where specialists conduct the necessary studies.  If the results of the analysis of the patient are doubtful, then his biological material is additionally examined, and the final result is set.

Alisa Matua noted that the medical officer who takes the smear cannot infect the patient.  The probes for collecting material are sterile and open at the presence of the patient.

On April 6, a training for nurses and laboratory assistants was also held at the Operational HQ. The training was conducted by members of the operations headquarters, Alla Belyaeva, chief sanitary officer of Sukhum, and Alisa Matua, head of the laboratory of immunology and virology of the Research Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia.

The training participants were told about the safety rules for working with infected people and conducted detailed training on the collection of biological material from potential infected people.

Operational HQ’s daily reports 

From the moment the country's leadership took measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection in Abkhazia, the deputy head of the Operational Headquarters for Medical Issues, Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Abkhazia Alkhas Kondzharia informs the population about the state of affairs daily.

“In the past 24 hours, one person underwent laboratory diagnostics for the detection of coronavirus infection.  Coronavirus has not been identified.  There are two patients with suspected coronavirus in the Central District Hospital of Gudauta. When the test results are received, we will inform you.  Over 200 calls have been processed by a single call center over the past 24 hours,” said Kondzharia.

Since March 24, 2020, the leadership of Abkhazia has taken a set of measures to protect the population of Abkhazia from the coronavirus infection COVID-19 - in particular, mass events were discontinued, educational institutions were disbanded, government agencies were restricted, retail outlets were closed, with the exception of food and essential goods, and  also pharmacies, movement of citizens was limited, a number of other measures have been taken.

Since March 28, a state of emergency has been declared in the Republic: the Abkhaz-Russian border has been temporarily closed for crossing, with the exception of military personnel and diplomats, control over crossing the state border has been strengthened for citizens of Abkhazia returning to the Republic.

The charity movement “We are Together” and representatives of the Moscow Abkhaz Diaspora, newly created by Abkhaz entrepreneurs, announced a fundraiser to help Abkhazia fight the new disease and protect the population of Abkhazia.  To date, nearly 50 million rubles have been raised.

For everyone who wants to help Abkhazia in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, there is an opportunity to contribute to the bank details of the Moscow Abkhaz Diaspora or “We are together” movement from the territories of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation, as well as to the details of the “World Abaza Congress” from the territory of the Republic of Turkey, or  make an online donation on the Congress website.  All funds received will be used to protect the life and health of residents of Abkhazia from coronavirus infection COVID-19.