>> AZERBAIJAN GOVERNMENT SAYS IT HAS SET ASIDE $1.7B TO HELP ECONOMY DEAL WITH THE CORONAVIRUS (APRIL 9)
>>IMF SAYS AZERBAIJAN’S ECONOMY WILL SHRINK BY 2.25% IN 2020 (APRIL 15)
>> AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENT EXTENDS LOCKDOWN UNTIL AUG, 1 (JUNE 21)
>> CORONAVIRUS CASES SURGE AFTER LOCKDOWN WAS RELAXED IN MID-MAY, FORCING ANOTHER LOCKDOWN
– Azerbaijan has reported 3,631 coronavirus infections, with 43 deaths (May 4).
— Azerbaijan has re-imposed one of the harshest lockdowns with people allowed to leave their homes only once a day. A lockdown was re-imposed after a surge of cases from mid-May when the initial restrictions were relaxed.
— To leave their homes, residents must ask for permission via an SMS service.
— Reports from Azerbaijan said that there had been isolated incidents of unrest. The military has been brought in to some streets to enforce a nightime curfew.
— Currently, Azerbaijan is reporting around 500 new cases of the coronavirus every day. In total, it has reported 20,837 cases of coronavirus and 258 deaths.
— Azerbaijan said on April 9 that it has set aside $1.7b to help the economy deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It also said that it had allocated $252m to deal with the social implications of the coronavirus and the lockdown.
— The World Bank said that low oil prices and the coronavirus means that Azerbaijan’s GDP will rise by 0.2% this year, compared to an earlier prediction of 2.3% (April 9).
— The IMF had a more downbeat assessment of the impact of the coronavirus and the drop in oil prices. It said on April 15 that Azerbaijan’s economy will shrink by 2.2% this year.
— The EBRD offers to provide companies in Azerbaijan with loans totalling $200m (May 20).
— On a recession linked to the spread of the coronavirus, the EBRD said that the country’s GDP would shrink by 3% this year (May 14).
— The Azerbaijani government said it was building six new ‘modular’ hospitals, each capable of housing 200 people, to deal with a surge in infections of the coronavirus. The new hospitals will cost a combined $8.7m.
— The Baku Formula 1 Grand Prix, the highlight of the sporting year in Azerbaijan, was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. It had been due to take place on June 7. Most international sporting events have been cancelled or postponed including the UEFA European Football Championships. Baku had been due to host a couple of matches for the European Football Championships.
— The Azerbaijani government on April 11 set up a quango called the Council for Public Control under Fund to Support Fight against Coronavirus, headed by various scientists and public figures to galvanise public support for the government’s response to the spread of the coronavirus.
— Opposition activists have said that the authorities have misused lockdown powers to harass and detain their members.
– On May 4, media reported that dozens of people had protested in the town of Bilasuvar, southeastern Azerbaijan, against the lockdown which they said was causing unemployment and starvation (May 4). Video showed angry scenes of men shouting at police officers outside the town hall.