Authorities in Azerbaijan have passed regulations easing certain restrictions that had been imposed in order to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following a recent drop in disease activity. From 00:01 (local time) on Tuesday, September 8, the existing prohibition on travel into and out of the cities of Baku and Sumgayit, as well as the Absheron district is lifted. However, the new measure only permits residents to enter or leave these areas by privately-owned or other individually-operated vehicles; taxis will be allowed to transport passengers, but travel into and out of Baku, Sumgayit, and Absheron District via other modes of intercity and interregional mass transit, such as buses, remains banned indefinitely. Police are reportedly removing the checkpoints that were being used to enforce the restriction.
Other restrictions will remain in place until at least September 30. Under the measures, inter-regional travel remains restricted, public transport is not operational during weekends, and many nonessential businesses will remain closed. Land borders will also remain closed until at least September 30, and most passenger flights are suspended. Protective face masks are compulsory in public spaces, and gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. Many nonessential businesses remain closed.
As of September 8, there have been 37,418 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Azerbaijan with 551 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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