By Akbar Mammadov
President Ilham Aliyev has said that he has been receiving thousands of letters of appreciation from citizens in recent months over the government’s effective handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Aliyev made the remarks while inaugurating the third centre of the Agency for Sustainable and Operational Social Security (DOST) under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population in Baku’s Nizami district on May 19.
“The work related to coronavirus was carried out very accurately in Azerbaijan from the very beginning. The Azerbaijani people as well as the international organizations see this and commend this. So far, I have received hundreds of letters per day from citizens. That is, I have received thousands of letters from the first days of the pandemic, and all these letters are letters of thanks. Indeed, preventive measures saved the country from the great trouble,” Aliyev said.
Aliyev compared the situation in Azerbaijan with that in a number of developed countries with same population as Azerbaijan.
“In some of those countries, 10,000 people have died so far. The number of deaths in Azerbaijan is quite small . At the same time, preventive and restrictive measures have allowed us to prevent the spread of the pandemic and we have achieved this”, he noted.
Furthermore, Aliyev reminded that the World Health Organization has described Azerbaijan as an exemplary country in fight against COVID-19.
“This is a great appreciation of the work we do. I do not know whether another country has been given such title. This is the logical result of the work carried out. Because from the beginning, our main goal was to protect our people and citizens from this disease,” the president added.
Aliyev stressed that the government prioritized the citizen’s health over the possible economic collapse and economic problems.
“Our main goal from the very beginning was to protect our people, our citizens from the disease. All other economic issues, economic collapse, possible economic problems faded into background. Although we have been seriously engaged in this issue [economic problems] as well,” the president said.
“The first issue was people's health, the second issue was people's social security, both of which we organized”, Aliyev stressed.
Furthermore, the president praised the work of the Mandatory Medical Insurance Agency and TABIB (The Administration of the Regional Medical Divisions).
“It is a great achievement to do all the organizational work under such difficult situation. Identifying hospitals, providing logistics, dividing patients into regions, organizing the provision of quarantined people, solving all these organizational and logistical issues for them, evacuating citizens from abroad - we have been able to ensure all of these within the framework of the Operations Headquarters, including the active participation of doctors and TABIB,” the president said.
Aliyev said that due to these measures, there was positive dynamics after three weeks in late April and the number of recovered people outnumbered the number of infected people.
In his speech, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev underlined the fact that currently, the country has more than 20 hospitals that treat only coronavirus patients.
More than 20 hospitals are ready, the construction of 10 modular hospitals has begun, and he attended the opening of one of them. This will give the country additional 2,000 beds.
“All medical equipment has been provided, artificial respirators have been supplied, the country has enough vacant places in the intensive care unit, there are enough beds, and the number of quarantined people is directly related to the number of foreigners. Because the country quarantines citizens evacuated from abroad for two weeks”, the president noted.
Repatriation of citizens
Touching upon the evacuation of more than 20,000 Azerbaijani citizens, President Aliyev said that repatriation work is done not spontaneously but according to schedule and distribution by the country.
The president highlighted the fact that most of the citizens have been repatriated from Russia, and so far, 6,500 Azerbaijani citizens have arrived from Russia.
“This process continues, but as I said, in an organized manner. Everyone must register their name, and there is a special portal - “Evə gedirəm” (I'm going home). Therefore, the evacuation will be carried out in an organized manner”, he added.
Noting that he has received numerous letters from those who were provided accomodation in four- to five-star hotels by the government as part of repatration, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan itself has started to produce medical mask, medical mask, overalls, disinfectants.
“Therefore, these complex measures, of course, protected us from great trouble. Under the current situation, where the mitigation process is already underway, the main factor will be the responsibility of citizens. I want to say again that citizens should understand this responsibility. The pandemic is not over, the virus has not disappeared, the virus will spread. Therefore, everyone must protect themselves, their loved ones, feel their responsibility and follow discipline.”
Aid to foreign countries
President noted that Azerbaijan has provided assistance to 13 countries and three international organizations so far.
“We have sent aid by plane, we have sent hundreds of tons of aid. We have sent disinfectants, protective equipment and other items made in Azerbaijan, but we have not showcased it. We did it knowingly as a moral debt to the countries that appealed to us. We know that the financial situation of those countries does not allow them to take the necessary measures. I am sure that this help saved many lives. This is the main issue,” Aliyev said.
He said that this is part of the country’s policy because when it comes to foreign policy, Azerbaijan has always preferred cooperation and have seen the benefits. “Wherever we had the opportunity, if we had the opportunity, we tried and helped,” the president added.
“Mutual support in foreign policy should not be in words, but in deeds, solidarity should be in deeds”, he said.
Aliyev stressed that it is no coincidence that Azerbaijan is a reputable country that was elected to the UN Security Council eight years ago with the support of 155 countries, and has been elected the chairman by the unanimous decision of the Non-Aligned Movement, by the decision of 120 countries.
“There are many countries in this institution that do not get along with each other. But each of them supported Azerbaijan. Why? Because we are a responsible country, we respect ourselves, we protect our dignity; we respect our partners. When we help, we do it in such a way that it is acceptable to the recipient, and we will continue our work in this direction”, the president said.
Azerbaijan, the nation of ten million, has registered 3.518 COVID-19 cases and 41 coronavirus- related deaths so far. The total number of recovered patients is 2.198.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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