Azerbaijanis stayed at home the first weekend in June.
On June 3, the country's authorities instituted weekend confinement, the strictest measure by COVID-19 that the country has implemented so far. With that, everyone is prohibited from leaving home from midnight on Saturday until six in the morning on Monday.
Azerbaijan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 28, and introduced a special quarantine regime on March 24. According to the John Hopkins University map, there have been 7,553 cases of COVID-19 so far, including 88 deaths. But since the easing of recent weeks, COVID-19 cases seem to have increased again.
The country's prime minister, Аli Hasanov, announced the confinement on June 4, saying it was linked to an increase in the rate of infections. The decision to impose the curfew came after the country registered 325 new cases of COVID-19 and five deaths related to the spread on June 3. Weekend confinement was applied in the capital Baku, and in the Sumgait, Ganja, Lankaran and Absheron regions. The weekend curfew could continue for up to two months, depending on how the contagion curve develops.
The head of the public health service, Ramin Bayramli, who proposed the curfew at a meeting of the coronavirus task force on June 4, said in the cabinet that the decision was made “in view of the fact that the daily number of people infected with coronavirus exceeded 200 people recently. “
The country's quarantine regime was relaxed on May 18. Due to restrictions, residents were required to get a text message before leaving home and were restricted from accessing parks, boulevards, museums, galleries, and other recreational facilities. The text message authorization system was established on April 4.
However, on May 31, Azerbaijan extended the confinement until June 15, along with these more flexible quarantine rules, which included opening large shopping malls (fewer children's and entertainment centers, cinemas and food facilities), cafes, restaurants. and outdoor sports competition. COVID-19 cases increased.
Although the text messaging system may have been considered strict, the new weekend regime is stricter. The new rules prohibit people from leaving the house unless they face immediate danger with risk to life and health. They can also attend the funeral of a close relative with the authorization of call center # 102, managed by the Guard Service Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
It was also announced that all stores and pharmacies would remain closed on those two days of curfew. This generated a wave of purchases motivated by panic at COVID-19.
In addition, all public transport stops at the weekend and the use of private vehicles is prohibited. The country imposed fines in the range of $ 58 to $ 2941 for using private transportation over the weekend, with higher fines for state officials. In some cases, those who do not comply could face administrative arrest by a nes.
Ehsan Zahidov, head of the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs stated on June 5 that he would not even allow himself to take out the garbage during the curfew. Violators could be fined up to $ 58, he warned.
There are a few exceptions. The Cabinet announced a list of state agencies and other organizations whose workers can leave home during the curfew, but only after registering with allow.e-gov.az with an electronic signature. However, even in these cases, citizens cannot go to work in their private vehicles and must use transportation organized by the workplace.
Kamran Aliyev, head of the Baku Police Headquarters Directorate, told local media that those with work permits can go to their jobs by bicycle or on foot if nearby.
On the morning of May 31, Parliament passed a law that provides for the use of face masks in public spaces from June 3. The law imposes fines ranging from $ 29 to $ 235 for not wearing masks. The law also encourages social distancing of 1.5 to two meters in all public spaces.
The national flag carrier, Azerbaijan Airways (AZAL) announced on June 4 that all airports will be closed until July 1. Azerbaijan suspended all its air traffic in the second half of March.