By Akbar Mammadov
President Ilham Aliyev has said that there are positive dynamics in the country’s fight against COVID-19 and situation around the pandemic is under control.
Aliyev made this remark at the government session held via video conference on measures to combat COVID-19 and the socio-economic situation in the country.
“There is positive dynamics in the fight against coronavirus. The positive trend observed since 16 July gives us a reason to say that all measures taken were quite timely. As a result of these measures, the situation is under control to this day. Since July 16, the number of new infection cases is far lower than the number of people recovering from the disease. This positive trend suggests that we will continue to keep the coronavirus disease under control,” Aliyev said.
The president noted that presently, 46 hospitals across the country treat only coronavirus patients. Of these 46 hospitals, 41 were built or overhauled and provided with state-of-the-art equipment in the past 17 years. “If we had not taken these steps on time, we would be faced with great problems and a tragic situation today,” the president said.
Aliyev stressed that Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of the number of tests per capita.
“We have increased five-fold the number of laboratories in a short period of time. The new laboratories to be acquired in the near future will enable even more tests. We must increase the total number of laboratories to 45,” the president said.
Aliyev reminded that 40 new ambulances were brought to the country recently and that their number will reach 100.
The president also touched upon the construction of new hospitals.
“Nine modular hospitals have been commissioned to date. Four of them started operating in one day – on 29 July. These hospitals were opened with my participation in Gobustan, Ismayilli, Gabala and Shaki. In the near future, the total number of modular hospitals will reach 16. A total of 3,200 coronavirus patients will be treated in these hospitals alone,” he said.
Aliyev underlined that an 800-bed hospital has already been commissioned through the Ministry of Emergency Situations, and a 1,300-bed hospital will be commissioned by the end of August, which amounts to additional 2,100 beds.
He reminded that Azerbaijan recently turned two Olympic Sports Complexes into hospitals in a short period of time. Each of these complexes has a capacity to treaty about 300 patients.
“There is no need for that yet, but if there is a need, we can, of course, use these opportunities,” Aliyev said.
Commenting on the number of doctors treating COVID-19 patients, Aliyev said that presently, doctors from several countries have been invited to the country. “Medical teams from Turkey, Russia, Cuba, Italy and China have arrived in Azerbaijan and have already started working. This, of course, gives us additional opportunities.”
The president reiterated his earlier statement that COVID-19 will not affect the social project carried out in the country.
“Our extensive social package has covered around 5 million people. The vast majority of the 900,000 people working in the public sector are unemployed, but are paid by the state. 760,000 people were provided with the necessary financial support and their jobs were protected. Otherwise, 760,000 people could have lost their jobs as sectors they are employed in are the ones that have suffered most as a result of the pandemic,” Aliyev said.
The president highlighted the fact that 600,000 unemployed people have received 190 manats in allowance for several months now. The aid package also covers unofficially employed people and people who have temporarily lost their jobs, as well as those of low-income families.
Aliyev said that social support program must be continued in the 13 cities and regions where the strict quarantine regime is applied.
The president stressed that in 2020, the volume of social projects reached a record level, adding that not a single social project has been remained unfinished or reduced.
“This year a record number of IDP families will be provided with houses and apartments. Over 7,000 IDP families will benefit from this opportunity. A record number of 1,500 families of martyrs and disabled people of the Karabakh war will be provided with housing this year. More than 400 servicemen who impeccably served in the army will be provided with free housing by the state. This means, at least 9,000 families will be provided with housing by the state this year,” Aliyev said.
Support to businesses
The president reiterated the importance of business support programs amid COVID-19.
“Business support programs must be further implemented. I believe the projects planned at the beginning of the year, the provision of loans and subsidies to entrepreneurs on favorable terms, the stimulation of agriculture, as well as the works done in connection with the pandemic, fully reflect our policy,” Aliyev said.
Furthermore, the president said that Azerbaijan’s solid economic foundation allows the government to tackle any economic crisis and fluctuations in oil prices.
Even if the oil price is at $35, Azerbaijan will fulfill all social obligations, implement infrastructure projects and create additional funds to strengthen its military potential, Aliyev said.
The government session was participated by Prime Minister Ali Asadov, Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov and Sahil Babayev, Minister of Social Protection of Population and Labor.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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