COVID-19 pandemic in South Ossetia

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COVID-19 pandemic in South Ossetia
Disease COVID-19
Virus strain SARS-CoV-2
Location South Ossetia (Georgia)
Index case Tskhinvali
Arrival date6 May 2020
(1 year, 3 months, 2 weeks and 2 days)
Confirmed cases3,296 (as of 23rd April, 2021) [1]
Active cases333
60 +

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached South Ossetia [nb 1] in May 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

Many schools and businesses in South Ossetia were closed on 20 March. [7]

April 2020

Borders between Russia and Georgia were closed on 5 April. [7]

May 2020

The first three cases of COVID-19 in South Ossetia were confirmed on 6 May. One of the cases was a retired man from North Ossetia, who arrived in South Ossetia on 20 April, and has been quarantined in a hospital since then. Another case, from Vladikavkaz, was a 14-year-old student of the Suvorov Military School. The third case also came from Vladikavkaz, but further details are unknown. Contact tracing has been conducted for these cases. [7]

As of 24 May, there were a total of 37 cases in South Ossetia. [8]

November 2020

In November, the head of the Consular Agency of South Ossetia in Vladikavkaz delivered medicines to South Ossetia. The South Ossetian president Anatoliy Bibilov had appealed to the Ossetian diasporas and entrepreneurs to provide all possible assistance to the population of South Ossetia. [9]

December 2020

In December, the Russian Armed Forces withdrew their mobile hospital they had established in the South Ossetian capital. [10]

February 2021

In late February 2021, Politico Europe reported that South Ossetia has allocated the equivalent of $27,000 from its 2021 budget for purchases of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. [11]

June 2021

In June, South Ossetian president Anatoliy Bibilov was vaccinated with the Sputnik vaccine. [12]


South Ossetia is a disputed territory in the South Caucasus, recognized by Russia and a few other countries as an independent state, but regarded by most of international actors as part of Georgia. [13]

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 Abkhazia, South Ossetia refused to cooperate with Georgia and blocked movement from or to Tbilisi-controlled territory in February 2020. The South Ossetian authorities refused to admit the specialists from the WHO and other international organisations unless they entered through Russia rather than Georgia although the border with Russia had also been closed in March 2020. [13]

According to the International Crisis Group, of the fellow ex-Soviet breakaways, South Ossetia is at greatest risk due to high percent of elderly population (17%), severely under-equipped medical facilities, lack of properly trained medical professionals, and failure to procure significant aid from Russia, which generally provides a majority of the region's needs. [13]


  1. South Ossetia is the subject of a territorial dispute between South Ossetia and Georgia. The Republic of South Ossetia unilaterally declared independence on 21 December 1991, but Georgia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. South Ossetia has received formal recognition as an independent state from 6 out of 193 United Nations member states, 1 of which have subsequently withdrawn their recognition.

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North Ossetia–Alania First-level administrative division of Russia

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Vladikavkaz City in North Ossetia–Alania, Russia

Vladikavkaz, formerly known as Ordzhonikidze (Орджоники́дзе) and Dzaudzhikau (Дзауджика́у), is the capital city of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Russia. It is located in the southeast of the republic at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, situated on the Terek River. Population: 311,693 (2010 Census); 315,068 (2002 Census); 300,198 (1989 Census). Vladikavkaz is one of the most populous cities in the North Caucasus.

South Ossetia Disputed territory in the South Caucasus

South Ossetia, officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, or the Tskhinvali Region, is a de facto state in the South Caucasus. Most countries recognise its territory as part of Georgia. It has an officially stated population of just over 53,000 people, who live in an area of 3,900 km2, south of the Russian Caucasus, with 30,000 living in the capital city, Tskhinvali. Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria recognize the separatist polity of the Republic of South Ossetia as a state. While Georgia does not exercise control over South Ossetia, the Georgian government and most members of the United Nations consider the territory part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area as "the former autonomous district of South Ossetia", in reference to the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast disbanded in 1990.

Georgian–Ossetian conflict 1989–present ethno-political conflict over South Ossetia

The Georgian–Ossetian conflict is an ethno-political conflict over Georgia's former autonomous region of South Ossetia, which evolved in 1989 and developed into a war. Despite a declared ceasefire and numerous peace efforts, the conflict remained unresolved. In August 2008, military tensions and clashes between Georgia and South Ossetian separatists erupted into the Russo-Georgian War.

The Georgian–Ossetian conflict of 1918–1920 comprised a series of uprisings, which took place in the Ossetian-inhabited areas of what is now South Ossetia, a breakaway republic in Georgia, against the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic and then the Menshevik-dominated Democratic Republic of Georgia which claimed several thousand lives and left painful memories among the Georgian and Ossetian communities of the region.

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Yury Ionovich Morozov is a Russian businessman and politician, and a former Prime Minister of South Ossetia. Morozov was confirmed by the Parliament of South Ossetia on 5 July 2005. 23 Out of 24 MPs present voted in favour of his candidacy. On 18 August 2008, it was announced that Morozov and his government had been dismissed by South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity. Kokoity said he thought the government was not handling the emergency aid from Russia, which was arriving after the 2008 South Ossetia war, good enough.

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Anatoly Ilyich Bibilov is a Russian and South Ossetian military officer, currently serving as the 4th President of South Ossetia, a partially recognized, but de facto independent state, succeeding Leonid Tibilov as President on April 21, 2017, following his election victory.

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