COVID-19: Azerbaijan Reinstates Lockdown; Pakistan Opens Afghan Border Crossing

Highlighting the difficulty of keeping a balance between the need to reopen hard-pressed economies and the risk of a new surge in infections, Azerbaijan on June 21 reinstated a tight lockdown to contain a spike in new cases that followed the easing of restrictions weeks ago.

Azerbaijan imposed a state of emergency to contain the outbreak on March 24. It was then lifted on May 31, with most restrictions relaxed.

But now Azerbaijanis will only be allowed to leave home “once a day for a maximum of two hours after receiving permission via text message” from the authorities, Prime Minister Ali Asadov said in a statement on June 21.

The new measures will remain in force until August 1 in the capital, Baku, and several other major cities and provinces.

Shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, and hair salons were meanwhile ordered to close as of June 21, along with cultural and educational institutions.

The move came after the number of infections in the oil-rich nation doubled in the space of the last two weeks.

Overall, the country of around 10 million people has so far reported 12,238 cases of the coronavirus and 148 deaths.


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