The response to COVID-19 in the Caucasus has varied from country to country, and Georgia has become a success story on how to limit the spread. At 221 cases per one million citizens and only 13 deaths, it is well below worldwide averages. Armenia, a country with about 800,000 fewer citizens than Georgia, has 4,769 per one million and 227 deaths. Despite Armenia’s upward trend, it decided to largely reopen early in May 2020 and has seen a resurgence in cases since. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan confirms hundreds of new cases every day and remains in lockdown. What policies helped Georgia stay on top of the coronavirus, and what could the rest do to reverse the trend?
Dr. Amiran Gamkrelidze, Director General, National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health in Georgia, Dr. Nune Bakunts, Deputy Director General, National Centre of Disease Control and Prevention in Armenia, Joshua Kucera, Turkey & Caucasus Editor, Eurasianet, and Arzu Geybulla, Columnist; Founder, Azerbaijan Internet Watch, discuss how the Caucasus countries responded to COVID-19, Georgia’s success, and what Armenia and Azerbaijan need to do next. Laura Linderman, Senior Fellow, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council, moderates.
Named for the mountain range between southern Russia, and northern Turkey and Iran, the Caucasus is home to the nations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. While all three nations have made progress toward democracy and a free market in varying degrees since independence in the 1990s, corruption, human rights violations, and conflict still hinder efforts to improve regional security.
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The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting stability, democratic values and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the West to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the East.