Azerbaijan deploys troops to enforce coronavirus lockdown

AFP , Friday 3 Jul 2020

Azerbaijan on Friday deployed troops to help police ensure a tight coronavirus lockdown in the capital Baku and several major cities as infections rise.

The troop deployment came as the virus situation was deteriorating in the oil-rich Caucasus nation of some 10 million people.

"Army units are taking part in patrols which oversee the implementation of a special quarantine regime," defence ministry spokesman Vagif Dargyahly told AFP.

On June 21, Azerbaijan reinstated in Baku and several other major cities a coronavirus lockdown to contain the spread of the disease as infections surged weeks after the country eased restrictions.

Despite the strict measures, the number of infections has increased by nearly 70 percent to 18,684 cases.

Azerbaijan has also reported 228 deaths.

The new restrictions are set to last until August 1.

Azerbaijanis are allowed to leave home only after receiving permission via text message from the authorities.

The ex-Soviet republic imposed a state of emergency to contain the outbreak in late March.

It was then lifted at the end of May, with most restrictions relaxed.

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