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Azerbaijan Spends $475 Million to Combat COVID-19 in 2021

By Gunay Hajiyeva May 26, 2022

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Azerbaijani law enforcement officers stand guard in a street as authorities tightened up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Baku, Azerbaijan April 1, 2020 / Aziz Karimov / Reuters

The government of Azerbaijan allocated 807 million manats or $475 million as part of the measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country in 2021.

According to Finance Minister Samir Sharifov, the majority of the funding came from the reserve fund under the state budget and the compulsory medical insurance fund.

Sharifov said 261 million manats ($153 million) were initially allocated to fight the pandemic last year, however it was later confirmed that the funds were not sufficient enough to cover the implementation of full-fledged measures.

“In addition, 266 million manats [$156 million] from the State Budget Reserve Fund and 280 million manats [$165 million] from the Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund were allocated to fight the pandemic. The allocated funds were mainly spent on the purchase of vaccines and related medical equipment, special payments to doctors, volunteers, and other medical expenses,” he said.

In the 2022 budget expenses, 350 million manats, or $206 million, was initially allocated for combating COVID-19.

In addition to domestic measures, Azerbaijan has also provided humanitarian and financial assistance to more than 30 countries, including the Non-Aligned Movement, in the fight against the pandemic. The country also donated $10 million to the World Health Organization.

The first Covid-19 case in Azerbaijan was registered in February 2020. Since then, a total of nearly 793,000 people have contracted the virus in the country, of whom 9,712 were fatal cases.

More than 13.7 million vaccines against COVID-19, including CoronaVac, Sputnik V, Vaxzevria, and Pfizer-BioNTech jabs, have been administered in the country since the start of mass inoculation in January 2021.

In May 2022, daily COVID-19 infection cases did not exceed 16, while stood at one case per day at its lowest. Currently, 45 active coronavirus patients are being treated at the hospitals.

Meanwhile, the decrease in daily COVID-19 infection led Azerbaijani authorities to ease pandemic restrictions. Starting on May 1, 2022, the government abolished the mandatory requirement for wearing medical masks in all indoor areas. Since April 15, a negative PCR test result is also not required for travelling to Azerbaijan. Visitors from 87 countries are currently allowed to enter the country via air. However, the country’s land borders remain close to both incoming and outgoing trips.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States has recently ranked Azerbaijan as one of the safest countries for travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic.