Illustration from Google

COVID-19 in Azerbaijan

These are the approximate numbers according to my calculations.

Azerbaijan is a landlocked country in the coast of Caspian Sea and by size the largest in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. It is a wonderful place with soft climate and friendly people which makes it comfortable for all the visitors. Azerbaijan is divided into cities, districts and one autonomous republic. These subdivisions play major role with their diversity, customs, lifestyle and cuisine. Resembling to other countries, the COVID-19 outbreak became a nightmare in Azerbaijan as well. Below, we will discuss more about the outbreak.

Nightmare begins:

Undoubtedly, everyone in this world is informed about COVID-19. To talk briefly, COVID-19 is a pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS-COV-2 that is contagious in humans which was first identified in Wuhan, China. During this period, the so-called “soldiers”, in other words doctors, have been fighting in a war to save the world from this nightmare. While everyone hoped that the pandemic would end soon, it spread all over the world and Azerbaijan became no exception.

Illustration from Google

First Steps:

After widespread of the infection in China and Italy, the next target became Iran. The number of infected people in Iran was considerably increasing. The Baku took measures and added border restrictions for arrivals from Iran. The citizens were advised not to travel for non-essential purposes and borders saw sanitary measures both for people who cross the border and for the transported goods.

First Case:

On February 27, an Operational Headquarter under Cabinet of Ministers was established, which’s main function is to observe COVID-19 in the country and take steps for securing the population. Unfortunately, on the next day the first case of COVID-19 was reported. That was a Russian traveler travelling from Iran. After two more cases were reported positive, the borders with Iran were closed completely for 2 weeks and the infected people were isolated from the society.

Welcome quarantine:

Starting from March 3, the quarantine measures were applied. The first step was to suspend the educational processes in the country till March 9 to intensify disinfection. People coming from Iran were tested positive for COVID-19; therefore, since March 5, those coming from Iran were required to remain in isolation. The first death, alas, was announced on March 12. Moreover, the entry restriction was applied to the cities with large population. In the end of the month, the shopping centers, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and so on were closed, as well. In addition, the entrance to the big cities were forbidden.

What is strict quarantine:

In the beginning of April, SMS-permission became mandatory in order to leave the residence. This SMS-permission system allowed travel of max 2 hours. It can be seen from the figure 2 that there was a slight increase in the number of infected people starting from March till the middle of April. However, in the end of April, the reduction almost at the same rate is obvious. The below graphic shows the increase of COVID cases from March to December. In April, the spread of virus was 404% higher than in March. Nevertheless, in turn of the deaths rates (figure 3), it is obvious that the small increase was by the end of April. In the end of April, the SMS-permission hour was extended from 2 to 3 hours and some businesses started to operate again.

Figure 1 done by Zaur Rasulov.

Do we turn back to our normal life?

May can be called as the month of normalizing. The SMS regime was lifted in all cities except big cities and starting from the middle of May, the normalizing period began. Restaurants and cafes, exhibition halls were restored. Nonetheless, the quarantine period and borders to be closed period were lengthened. The happiness on people’s faces for normalizing could be seen in the streets. Unfortunately, there still was increase in the number of infected people. Roughly from the end of May and the begin of June, when the quarantine regime was softened, the considerable rise amongst the infected people and rate of death can be observed from figures 2 and 3, respectively.

Figure 2 done by Zaur Rasulov.
Figure 3 done by Zaur Rasulov.

Two lockdowns?

In June, because of surpass, two types of lockdowns were applied. The first lockdown was the restriction on moving outside on weekends, while the second one started since the end of June and it was complete lockdown, resembling to the one applied in April. The maximum number of infected people till that period and the maximum for June was recorded on 24 June, whereas the maximum death was set down on 29 June. These numbers are estimated to be 590 and 8 people, correspondingly.

Does COVID-19 end?

The beginning of July, regrettably, started with the highest number of infected people calculated as 588. From the figures 2 and 3, it can be observed that while on the figure 2 the infection rate was stable, the death rate was fluctuating. On the other hand, roughly the end of the same month was luckily, because the slight decrease was followed by the dramatic fall (68%) (figure 1). Likewise, the considerable reduce from 13 dead people in July, which was the peak, to no dead people, which was the deep of August, was observed.

People’s irresponsibility or doctors’ fault?

After sturdy September, the month of normalization, October was the month of extension. Apparently, October was very hard month for Azerbaijan, because despite the growth of number of infected people, the war broke out. Chiefly, the situation for doctors adverse at that time. The growth percentage in October was calculated to be 298%. In November, for the first time, the number of sick people was higher than 1000 and it was still rising. The apex in number of infected people was considered on December 13, after applying the strict quarantine regime, again using SMS’s for moving in the country. However, since the number reached its peak, there has been a dramatic decline. The same, on the other side, cannot be said about the number of dead people. Death took its maxima on December 11, counted as 47. There is a slight decrease in that number.

With reference to my calculations, ongoing diminish in number of contaminated people around 70–80% can be estimated for January, while for the percentage of death is expected to be around 60–70%.

After some vaccines were approved by WHO, countries started the vaccination processes. In Azerbaijan, the injection of vaccines is expected to start in January. Undoubtedly, the vaccines may not assist to recover, but they assist to gain an immunity against the virus. Furthermore, fortunately, the mutated virus, so-called B.1.1.7 has not been recorded yet.

In the end the pandemic will end and the world will return to normal. We should remain patient, follow the COVID measures, cleaning and hygiene tips.

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