Azerbaijan is efficiently controlling the catastrophic COVID-19 health crisis with proactive measures when the world is ambiguous about the dimensions of the global pandemic that has migrated all around the globe. Azerbaijan is one of the famous tourist spots in Eurasia, which caused the arrival of the virus in the country.
The outbreak in the middle east has triggered many states in the Eurasian region and the emergence of the virus similarly spread in Azerbaijan, other Central Asian Republics, and beyond. The first infected case was reported in Azerbaijan on 28 February 2020 and immediately after, the government exercised the prevention actions by declaring the closure of the border with Iran on 29 February 2020. The developing countries were affected largely from the global pandemic and unable to devise the policies of preparedness and readiness due to relatively weak resources, unlike developed states. Azerbaijan diplomatically and sovereignly implemented strict measures through territorial disintegration and suspended the activities related to education, social events, public places, and around 10,000 Azerbaijani citizens were evacuated from other cities, later assertive quantum on social isolation began to be implemented in the beginning of March.
Under the Resolution of The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan all taken measures to fight COVID-19 and article 25 of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "About sanitary and epidemiologic safety" on February 27 were operationalized and further implemented till 4 May, but it was extended later concerning the economic implications by socially engaged the people with equal moral responsibility. Initially, in March around 10 million manat (5.9 million USD) was allocated to the Cabinet of Ministers to ensure that all essential procedures will be implemented on time.
At the macro level, The Government of Azerbaijan in ensuring the program for the stability and reduce the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy and social life by supporting employment and entrepreneurship through effective implementation and an action plan that covers 300,000 employees, 42,000 employers, and about 300,000 private and micro-entrepreneurs. They also influence to implement the credit and guarantee support program which enables businesses to get loans with preferential terms.
With the rapid implementation of actions of preparedness and eagerness, Azerbaijan turned into the nation that assigned the greatest portion of GDP to dispense with pandemic created economic issues among Central Asia. Consequently, the advantageous economic condition creating long-term development in post-pandemic era, as it is equally essential to support the economy in the era of the global pandemic. Therefore, the implementation of present and future programs will support regional stability and economic development in the long-term period.
The COVID-19 is on the mainstream in the region and cases are increasing rapidly and we can say that it is the second extensive wave of the pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Azerbaijan recorded 8191 Coronavirus Cases since the epidemic began and reported 93 coronavirus Deaths.
According to world health organization (WHO), Azerbaijan recorded 4606 Coronavirus Recovered since the pandemic began.
Azerbaijan National Response Committee team came up with the WHO to establish national preparedness and response plan for COVID-19. The proactive approach of Azerbaijan to counter the crisis of the global pandemic caused a small number of imported COVID-19 cases were reported. (WHO) is providing guidance and coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Agency for Health Care Management (TABIB) to ensure equal access to quality primary health, safety equipment to hospitals, and isolation center. Azerbaijan is one of the 17 countries in the WHO European Region that is receiving laboratory testing kits.
The government of Azerbaijan is globally contributing to preventing the rise of COVID-19 and coordinating with the neighboring states and has guaranteed US$ 5 million to WHO’s strategic readiness and response plan. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said; “Urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus, to prevent further human to human transmission and protect health workers.” To counter the current circumstances The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) are engendered to pledge the effectiveness of outbreak response.
The Novel Coronavirus is spreading rapidly all around the world due to which states renewed their COVID-19 outbreak policies and Azerbaijan introduced strict lockdown as COVID-19 pandemic has started to accelerate. The new limitations were required because the disease has started to spread again quickly following the May 18 lifting of the past system and introduce new rules that are important as President Ilham Aliyev has signed a law making it mandatory for Azerbaijanis to wear face masks while in public places and the Prime Minister Ali Asadov has announced on 4 June 7, 2020, that new rules and regulation in public address and said; “If the cases of infections increase in other cities and regions, strict measures will be implemented there as well,” or they can use the long weekend curfew as a tactic to control pandemic that is deadly and risky.
HEALTH AND RESTRICTIONS
The Government of Azerbaijan has expanded principles by restraining worldwide passenger traffic and mobility in the locales of Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja, Lankaran, Absheron, and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through May 31, 2020. The government has now applied strict rules for people to stay in quarantine and to limit their mobility through technological advancement in monitoring citizen movement via message service to inform or take permission from officials before leaving home for essential trips, including visits to grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, and banks. Although final exams of students will be postponed till September, accountability on quarantine violations, the government extended border closures till June 15, Inter-city transportation and large gatherings will remain prohibited, The State Migration Service recently announced that Automatic visa extensions for foreigners, screening all arriving travelers and mandatory 14-day quarantine in government-provided facilities.
Furthermore, Violation of the regulation will be fined 50 manats ($30), while officials violating the law will be obliged to pay 100 manats ($60) which includes government officials as recently 3 members of the Popular Front Party were arrested a second time during since the pandemic began, Companies and organizations who break the law will be fined 200 manats ($120).
MIDDLE POWERS ARE THE INFLUENCER OF INTERNATIONAL ARENA
Azerbaijan is the world's forefront middle power of the international system and the long-term buildup of tolerance and multiculturalism, as a scholar, Marijke Breuning defined “middle powers the “states that can exercise a measure of influence, albeit not through the projection of military might”. Azerbaijan exceptionally implemented their international initiative by coordinating with regional states or especially with the South Caucasus states such as Georgia or Armenia, we can say that cognitive channel of communication and cooperation will be seen in the near future as they are conscious of current dynamics and global transformation to counter the challenges. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, opening the Non-Aligned Movement Summit (NAM) said “We can defeat COVID-19 only by mutual support and joint efforts, avoidance of self-seclusion.” The role of Azerbaijan and their leadership constantly enhance their inter-regional and interstate relations, projects, and initiatives and becomes moderator of Eurasia.
Aroosa Salahuddin is a Research Intern, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad.
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