COVID-19 pandemic in Abkhazia

Last updated

COVID-19 pandemic in Abkhazia
Abkhazia COVID-19 cases map.png
Disease COVID-19
Virus strain SARS-CoV-2
Location Abkhazia
Index case Gagra
Arrival date7 April 2020
(1 year, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)
Confirmed cases28,276 (as of 6 October 2021) [1]
Government website

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Abkhazia [lower-alpha 1] in April 2020.



On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019. [2] [3]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003, [4] [5] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll. [6] [4]


March 2020

On 28 March, the Acting President closed the border on the river Psou to Russia for foreign citizens and stateless persons. [7] On 30 March, a case was confirmed in a person who arrived from Moscow, Russia. [8] The test, however, was conducted in Zugdidi, Georgia, where the patient is being treated. Abkhazia itself had no confirmed cases at the time. [9]

April 2020

On 7 April, the first case was confirmed. The infected patient arrived in Gagra, Abkhazia's westernmost town, after having returned from a trip to Moscow. [10] Later, on 8 April, the second case was confirmed, caused by the first case. [11] On 11 April, a third case was confirmed, caused by the first two cases. [12]

On 26 April, the first death from the virus was confirmed in Gudauta. The patient was the third confirmed case back on 11 April. [13]

May 2020

On 8 May, four more cases were confirmed, all being cadets from Russian military academies who arrived in Sukhumi several days before and were undergoing quarantine, bringing the total of confirmed cases to seven. [14] The following day, two more cases were confirmed, both also being cadets, bringing the total to nine. [15] On 11 May, one more case was confirmed, bringing the total to 10. [16] On 12 May, three more cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 13. [17] On 13 May, two more cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 15. [18]

Two more cases were confirmed on 14 May, one being a Russian university student, and the other being a serviceman from Dagestan stationed in Gudauta, bringing the total to 17. [19] On 17 May, a family of three tested positive for the virus in Sokhumi, bringing the total to 20. [20] On 19 May, four more people tested positive, all Russian students who had recently returned to Abkhazia, bringing the total to 24. [21] On 20 May, one more case was confirmed in a cadet at a Russian military academy, bringing the total to 25. [22] On 22 May, three more cases were confirmed, all in cadets from Russian military academies, bringing the total to 28. [23]

June 2020

As of 9 June, 36 cases had been identified, eight of which had been hospitalized. [24]

August 2020

On August 1, the Abkhaz government re-opened the border to Russia. In the following weeks, the infection rate rose from 32 in late July to 121 on August 18. [25]

September 2020

As of 17 September, a total of 782 people in Abkhazia had been infected with COVID-19 and 7 had died. [26]

October 2020

In October, Abkhaz Defence Minister Vladimir Anua asked Russia to deploy a military field hospital in Abkhazia in order to cope with the pandemic. The request was granted. [27] [28]

November 2020

During his visit in Moscow, Abkhaz president Aslan Bzhania met with Hazret Sovmen, the former president of the Republic of Adygea. Sovmen promised Bzhania 50 million rubles ($631,000) to Abkhazia to fight the coronavirus. [29]

December 2020

During another visit in Moscow, Abkhaz president Aslan Bzhania secured the sending of a batch of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V to Abkhazia. [30]

January 2021

In January 2021, five hundred doses of the two-dose Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to a Russian military base in Abkhazia. [31]

February 2021

In early February, a deputy of the People's Assembly of Abkhazia announced, that Sputnik V is expected to arrive in Abkhazia in February or March 2021. [32]


Abkhazia is a disputed territory in the South Caucasus, recognised by Russia and a few other countries as an independent state, but regarded by most of international actors as part of Georgia, which consider the area—together with fellow breakaway entity South Ossetia—as Russian-occupied territory. Early in the pandemic, senior Georgian government officials called on the WHO and other international organisations to provide support to people living in the two breakaways. They said Georgia would not block movement to and from the regions. Unlike South Ossetia, Abkhazia cooperated to a degree with Georgia, allowing dozens of people to make use of medical services in the Tbilisi-controlled territory, and with international organisations, with the UN Development Programme providing much-needed basic medical supplies and sanitisers. Russia supplied some 500 COVID-19 test kits and sent soldiers to support disinfection of public places. A curfew was in place for nearly a month but was eased late in April 2020. [33]

According to the International Crisis Group, the situation in Abkhazia presents several vulnerabilities. Abkhazia suffers from weak infrastructure and underequipped medical facilities, lacks medical professionals and has an ageing population, with nearly 20% of residents over 60 years of age. Nearly 80% of medical personnel are themselves at high risk, being in their 60s or older. [33]


  1. Abkhazia is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Abkhazia and Georgia. The Republic of Abkhazia unilaterally declared independence on 23 July 1992, but Georgia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory and designates it as a territory occupied by Russia. Abkhazia has received formal recognition as an independent state from 7 out of 193 United Nations member states, 1 of which has subsequently withdrawn its recognition.

Related Research Articles

Raul Khajimba Abkhazian politician

Raul Jumkovich Khajimba is an Abkhazian politician, and served as President of Abkhazia from 25 September 2014 until 12 January 2020. He was also Chairman of the Forum for the National Unity of Abkhazia from 2010 to 2015. Khajimba previously held the offices of Vice President (2005–2009), Prime Minister (2003–2004) and Defence Minister (2002–2003). He unsuccessfully ran for President in 2004, 2009 and 2011. He resigned the presidency in 2020 due to protests against him.

Sergei Shamba is a senior politician from Abkhazia. He is currently a member of the People's Assembly of Abkhazia and Chairman of United Abkhazia. He was Prime Minister of Abkhazia under President Sergei Bagapsh from 13 February 2010 until 27 September 2011. Between 1997 and 2010 he had been Minister for Foreign Affairs under both Bagapsh and his predecessor Vladislav Ardzinba, with only a half-year interruption in 2004. Shamba has twice unsuccessfully participated in Presidential elections, in 2004 and 2011. He has been a staunch proponent for dialogue between Abkhazia and Georgia.

Vice President of Abkhazia

The vice president of the Abkhaz Republic, a partially recognized state, internationally regarded as a part of Georgia, is the first in the presidential line of succession, becoming the new President of Abkhazia upon the death, resignation, or removal of the President. Additionally, the Vice President would assume the presidency in case the President becomes incapable of carrying out the presidential duties.

Parliamentary elections were held in Abkhazia on 2 March 2002 to elect the third convocation of the People's Assembly. The elections had originally been scheduled for 24 November 2001, but had to be postponed due to the October 2001 Chechen incursion into the lower Kodori Valley. Candidates supporting President Vladislav Ardzinba won all 35 seats.

Gudauta District District in Abkhazia, Georgia

Gudauta District is a district of Abkhazia, Georgia’s breakaway republic. It corresponds to the eponymous Georgian district. Its capital is Gudauta, the town by the same name. The population of the district was 34,869 at the time of the 2003 census, down from 57,334 in 1989. By the time of the 2011 Census, the population had increased to 36,775.

Many inhabitants of Abkhazia are Orthodox Christians, with a significant minority adhering to Islam and a growing population adopting Abkhaz neopaganism, or the "Abkhazian traditional religion". The influence of this last has always remained strong and has been experiencing a revival through the 1990s and 2000s.

Mass media in Abkhazia consists of several TV channels, newspapers, magazines and radio stations. Some of them are government-owned, others are private. Apsnypress is the government information agency. Russian media are generally also available and is popular.

The elections for the 5th convocation of the People's Assembly of Abkhazia were held in two rounds on 10 and 24 March 2012.

Events in the year 2012 in Abkhazia.

2014 Abkhazian presidential election Presidential election in Abkhazia

Presidential elections were held in the Republic of Abkhazia on 24 August 2014. The sixth such elections since the post of President of Abkhazia was created in 1994, they were held early due to the resignation of President Alexander Ankvab on 1 June 2014 following the 2014 Abkhazian political crisis. Four candidates contested the elections, which were won by Raul Khadjimba, who received just over 50% of the vote.

Aslan Bzhania Abkhaz politician

Aslan Georgievich Bzhania is an Abkhaz politician who has been the President of Abkhazia since 23 April 2020. He was the Head of the State Security Service, and one of the leaders of the opposition in Abkhazia. He was considered a favorite candidate in the scheduled July 2019 presidential election. However he was admitted to a hospital in Moscow in a severe condition in April 2019, with the presence of a large dose of mercury and aluminum in his blood, leading to allegations of poisoning on political grounds. As of May 2019, he remained in the clinic, his respiratory system and speech impaired. He ran in the subsequent 2020 presidential election, which he won.

2019 Abkhazian presidential election Presidential election in Abkhazia

Presidential elections were held in the partially recognized Republic of Abkhazia in 2019. As no candidate gathered more than 50% of the votes in the first round 25 August, a second was held on 8 September between the top two candidates, incumbent President Raul Khajimba of the Forum for the National Unity of Abkhazia and Alkhas Kvitsinia of Amtsakhara. Khajimba was subsequently re-elected with a margin of less than 2% in the second round. On September 20, the Supreme Court in Abkhazia declared the decision of the Central Election Commission to recognize incumbent Raul Khajimba’s victory in the second round of the presidential election as legal.

COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in Ukraine

The COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus was confirmed to have spread to Ukraine when the country's first case was confirmed to be hospitalized in Chernivtsi Oblast on 3 March 2020, a man who had travelled from Italy to Romania by plane and then arrived in Ukraine by car.

COVID-19 pandemic in Bulgaria Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in Bulgaria

The COVID-19 pandemic in Bulgaria is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus was confirmed to have spread to Bulgaria when the country's first cases, a 27-year-old man from Pleven and a 75-year-old woman from Gabrovo, were confirmed on 8 March 2020. Neither of the two had traveled to areas with known coronavirus cases which is maybe because the PCR test that was used is deffective. The man tested positive for the virus after being hospitalized for a respiratory infection, and authorities announced plans to test several people who were in contact with the two individuals. Two other samples in Pleven and Gabrovo were positive on 8 March. Patient zero remains unknown.

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Transnistria in March 2020.

COVID-19 pandemic in the Donetsk Peoples Republic Details of ongoing viral pandemic in the Donetsk Peoples Republic

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the Donetsk People's Republic, or DNR, in March 2020. The DNR is a Russian-supported separatist entity that controls about a third of the territory of Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast.

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached South Ossetia in May 2020.

COVID-19 vaccination in Russia

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Russia is an ongoing mass immunization campaign against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in response to the ongoing pandemic in the country. Mass vaccinations began in December 2020, starting with primarily doctors, medical workers and teachers, and in January 2021, this was extended to the entire population.


  1. "The latest COVID-19 numbers from the Caucasus".
  2. Elsevier. "Novel Coronavirus Information Center". Elsevier Connect. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  3. Reynolds, Matt (4 March 2020). "What is coronavirus and how close is it to becoming a pandemic?". Wired UK. ISSN   1357-0978. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  4. 1 2 "Crunching the numbers for coronavirus". Imperial News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  5. "High consequence infectious diseases (HCID); Guidance and information about high consequence infectious diseases and their management in England". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  6. "World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists – Coronavirus". Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  7. "The Acting President signed the Order on closing of the state border along the Psou River for foreign citizens and stateless persons". Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia. 28 March 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  8. "First Abkhazia Resident Tests Positive for Coronavirus". Civil Georgia . 31 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  9. "Коронавирус побывал в Абхазии транзитом?". Эхо Кавказа (in Russian). 31 March 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  10. "COVID-19: Abkhazia Reports First Case of Coronavirus". Civil Georgia . 4 August 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  11. "Оперштаб: в Республике Абхазия выявлено двое заболевших коронавирусом" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 8 April 2020. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  12. "Оперштаб: в республике 3 подтвержденных случая заболевания коронавирусом" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 11 April 2020. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  13. "В Гудаутской больнице скончалась пациентка 1925 года рождения" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 26 April 2020. Archived from the original on 26 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  14. "Оперштаб: диагноз коронавирус подтвержден у четырёх человек" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 8 May 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  15. "Оперштаб: ещё у двух студентов, прибывших из РФ, подтвердился диагноз коронавирус" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 8 May 2020. Archived from the original on 10 May 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  16. "Оперштаб: из 17 человек, прошедших тестирование, коронавирус подтвержден у одного" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 11 May 2020. Archived from the original on 12 May 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  17. "Оперштаб: за сутки тестирование прошли 39 человек, у троих подтвердился коронавирус" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  18. "Еще двое инфицированных" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 13 May 2020. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  19. "Еще двое: коронавирус выявлен у курсанта и военнослужащего 7-ой военной российской базы в Гудауте" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  20. "Еще у троих граждан Абхазии подтвержден Covid-19" (in Russian). 17 May 2020. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  21. "Выявлены четыре новых случая Covid-19" (in Russian). 19 May 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  22. "У еще одного абхазского курсанта российского военного вуза подтвержден COVID – 19" (in Russian). 20 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  23. "Уже 28: еще у троих граждан выявлен Covid-19" (in Russian). 22 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  24. "Восемь граждан с Covid-19 находятся в Гудаутском госпитале". Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  25. "Abkhazia calls for volunteers to help with COVID outbreak". Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  26. "Headquarters: 26 people were diagnosed with COVID-19". Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  27. ""The president is to blame for every second death." Why Abkhazia is asking for Russia's help in the fight against the pandemic". 14 October 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  28. "Russian military medics continue to treat patients in a mobile multidisciplinary hospital deployed in Abkhazia for patients with coronavirus infection". Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  29. "Ex-President of Adygea Allocates 50 Million Rubles to Abkhazia to Fight COVID-19". Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  31. "Russia delivers 500 doses of Sputnik V vaccine to military base in Abkhazia". Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  32. "It has become known when Abkhazia can receive the Sputnik V vaccine". Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  33. 1 2 "The COVID-19 Challenge in Post-Soviet Breakaway Statelets". Crisis Group. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2020.