The Republic of Azerbaijan today announced the implementation of several key initiatives as the country regains control over COVID-19 – and as cases begin to increase worldwide. Azerbaijan is one of the least impacted countries in the world.
“The humanitarian support Azerbaijan has provided already covers 14 countries,” stated, President Ilham Aliyev. “It included financial support and support in the form of equipment and medical supplies. In addition, through the World Health Organization, we will support 15 most needy countries. These 15 countries are identified in consultation with the World Health Organization. So during this period, Azerbaijan provided support to almost 30 countries. I think this is a manifestation of our responsibility because countries and people should support each other in this difficult time.”
The Azerbaijani Government, upon the instructions of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, has taken several crucial measures for combating this global problem.
Coronavirus Response Fund:
A special response fund has been established by the Government of Azerbaijan. Over $65 million have been dedicated for research in the medical field, and for establishing medical institutions and other related measures.
Azerbaijan provides social support to those who have lost their jobs. For two months, 600,000 unemployed and those belonging to the low-income category have received financial support from the Government.
The Government pays a significant part of the salaries for nearly 690,000 people working in the private sector that have been affected by the pandemic. The salary of each of the 900,000 people working in the public sector is paid. Azerbaijan has allocated more than $2 billion for these measures.
World Health Organization (WHO) Support:
Azerbaijan has allocated $10 million to WHO to support international efforts in the fight against coronavirus. At the same time, Azerbaijan has so far provided humanitarian assistance to 29 countries.
More than 20 hospitals have been upgraded and equipped to be utilized for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, four new modular hospitals, with all the necessary equipment, have been opened. Six others will be opened in a short time. There are more than 20 labs dedicated to COVID-19 tests in Azerbaijan.
Hospitalization of all COVID-19 Positive Patients:
Another crucial means of grappling with this disease is the hospitalization of all the COVID-19 patients in Azerbaijan. All citizens are taken to special hospitals after testing positive for the virus; coronavirus patients in Azerbaijan are not treated at home. This is a fundamental reason for the low death rates from COVID-19 in Azerbaijan.
Evacuation from other Countries:
A special portal, www.evegedirem.info, has been launched to manage the Government-financed evacuation of Azerbaijani citizens from foreign countries.
“President Ilham Aliyev and the Republic of Azerbaijan recently hosted a regional gathering, whereby countries in the region came together to fight COVID-19,” said World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “I have seen strong commitments from the president, and the Government is working with neighboring countries to forge a united regional response against the pandemic. Azerbaijan has contributed to the global response financially, and through other means, and I would like to use this opportunity to express my respect and appreciation for that leadership.”
During the pandemic we all witnessed the necessity of sound public administration, especially transparent, accessible and responsible public service delivery.
Access to public services in Azerbaijan has been ensured through the ASAN Service Centers. ASAN Service was established upon the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan back in 2012 as an integral part of the reforms in the sphere of public administration. It is the Azerbaijani model for rendering public and private services from one-single space. ASAN Service has been in the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 with its smart solutions and innovations.
During the period of special quarantine, ASAN Service has introduced special electronic permission systems both for individual citizens and organizations. The system operates in two different versions. The first version, a Short Message Service (SMS) permission system, was launched to help regulate individual citizens’ movement - when they left their homes in times of necessary needs. The second version, www.icaze.e-gov.az, is a permission system for workers of organizations that function during special quarantine regimes.
It has received positive feedback of the public in Azerbaijan and beyond. The system has been approved and researched by a number of countries (Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Belarus, including Astana Hub).
“The coordination of an international effort against the COVID-19 pandemic under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev has made a deep impression on me,” stated Masatsugu Asakawa, President of Asian Development Bank.“Azerbaijan has provided the World Health Organization with a total of $10 million for the COVID-19 fund, in addition to donations to needy member countries, including the People's Republic of China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and a contribution to the 13th Asian Development Fund. Azerbaijan has also taken exemplary preventive measures against the pandemic for its own citizens, which is highlighted by a low mortality rate and low infection rate despite a high number of tests conducted.”
ASAN Service Centers were open throughout the pandemic for the most needed services. Citizens wishing to benefit from the services in ASAN Service Centers, had to register for an online queue via the website, a special mobile app or the Call Center. This enabled us to manage the number of citizens served per day and control distances as well as hygiene standards.
In addition to the measures outlined above, in February Azerbaijan created a Task Force under the Cabinet of Ministers for the implementation of preventive measures to combat COVID-19.
Furthermore, a call center was created to operate as a means of information transmission. The Government also launched www.koronavirusinfo.az, as a secondary means of information distribution.
The Government of Azerbaijan has also collaborated with other world leaders. Most recently, it held a ASAN Global Web Forum, titled “Governments’ Agile Response to COVID-19” which brought together more than 25 distinguished participants from 10 countries and 15 world-known international organizations and companies, including the World Economic Forum and UNDP, to discuss strategies and measures for battling the spread of COVID-19.