2 Apr 2020 22:12

Azerbaijan restricts travel around the country over coronavirus, people permitted to leave homes only via text notifications

BAKU. April 2 (Interfax) - The Azerbaijani government's operative coronavirus response headquarters has decided to restrict travel around the country from April 5 through April 20.

People employed with government entities, media organizations, large companies and private healthcare facilities will be permitted to travel on their service ID cards or letters from the employer, the operative headquarters said in a statement on Thursday.

People working in diplomatic missions and international organizations will be allowed to travel once they have an accreditation card issued by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on them.

Representatives of certain companies, including state companies, and several non-governmental organizations will have an opportunity to secure travel of their employees after presenting appropriate information to the government via the website icaze.e-gov.az.

"In order to prevent the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in the republic, the government's operative headquarters has resolved that citizens of Azerbaijan wishing to go outside of their homes for legitimate reasons must duly notify [the public authorities] through SMS [text] messages, starting April 5," the headquarters said.

People may leave their homes if they need urgent medical care or to go shopping for food or other essential goods, medications, or looking for banking or mailing services, or in view of a funeral of a close relative, it said.

A message sent by the Electronic Government system in reply to such a notification must contain an indication of time during which the permission is valid. A person may leave their place of residence only upon receiving a positive answer form the system. A response text message must be presented to police officers on demand, it said.

"Any violation of these restrictions will be regarded as a violation of the special quarantine regime and will entail administrative or criminal liability under applicable laws. In addition, every case of misusing the permission procedure or entering any false information, and other similar actions will be investigated thoroughly. The perpetrators will be held accountable," the headquarters said.

A special quarantine regime amid the Covid-19 threat is effective in Azerbaijan through April 20.

As of April 2, the total number of people infected with the coronavirus in Azerbaijan was 400. Of those, 369 are undergoing treatment at special healthcare facilities, 26 have recovered, and five died.