Medical staff in a hospital doorway. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the "Caucasian Knot"

30 June 2020, 10:25

Azeri activists criticize authorities for fines during pandemic

During the past 24 hours, 544 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in Azerbaijan; the number of coronavirus deaths reached 206 people. Meanwhile, the country's parliament has doubled fines for violating the quarantine. Activists doubt the efficiency of this measure, suggesting the authorities to distribute medical masks among the poor for free.

Samir Aliev, an economist and a member of the NGO "Assistance to Economic Initiatives", doubts that raising fines will bring the desired results.

"In the current situation, it's necessary to rely on educational measures rather than coercion. Raising fines is an erroneous step ... It would be easier to provide the poor with free masks, hand them out at bus stops, subway stations, and in supermarkets," Mr Aliev has suggested.

Gubad Ibadoglu, the head of the Movement for Democracy and Welfare, believes that "coercion to wearing masks and increased fines pursue the mercenary goals of those in power." He has noted that earlier, this spring, Azerbaijan launched two production facilities for making medical masks – at the enterprises of "Bakı Tekstil Fabriki" and "Gilan Tekstil Park", which are "associated with senior officials."

Azer Rashidov, a local resident, has pointed to the high prices of protective means.

In her turn, Sevindj Agaeva, a teacher, treats the increase in fines as justified. "When it comes to one's health, there's no place for economy ... Raising fines is necessary for people to wear them (masks), at least because they care about their pockets," the resident of Baku has stated.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 29, 2020 at 09:16 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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