The special quarantine regime in Azerbaijan has been extended until January 1, 2023, by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers. This also means that the country's land border, which has been closed for more than two years, will remain closed for another two months to both citizens who want to travel abroad and foreigners who want to come to the country.
Although neighboring countries Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, and Iran have opened their land borders for the movement of passengers following the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) to remove or ease international transport and travel restrictions, Azerbaijan has maintained its decision to keep them closed.
Although there are occasional demands regarding the opening of Azerbaijan's land borders, officials emphasize that the risks caused by the pandemic still exist. President Ilham Aliyev said in July that the country's land borders were closed to prevent infections.
"Our land borders are closed and should be closed. Why? For people not getting sick. Because the direction of the spread of this disease is land borders. That's why we keep our borders closed and we do it right. As long as necessary, we will keep the borders closed - we are talking about the land borders," the President said during his speech on July 15.
As of October 31, more than 5.3 million people have been vaccinated with one dose, more than 4.8 million people with two doses, and more than 3.3 million people with a third dose or more. With these statistics, it is possible to say that mass immunity against coronavirus has formed among the population.
Compared to the corresponding period of last year, the cases of infection and death of the coronavirus have decreased sharply. So, while the number of infected people in October 2021 was 42,917, and the number of people who died due to the pandemic was 499, in October of this year, 1,719 infections and 26 deaths were recorded. It should be noted that land borders were closed in October last year as well as now.
The exit of passengers from Azerbaijan to abroad is only through air routes. These flights are mainly operated by AZAL and Buta Airlines. Keeping the country's land borders still closed at a time when the number of infections and deaths from the virus has dropped sharply is seen as a revenue opportunity for these airline companies that organize the flights.
Fakt Yoxla concludes that keeping the country's land borders closed at a time when mass immunity has arisen, the infection has seriously decreased, and mass gatherings and events are free in the country does not have a legitimate basis and is not in line with the recommendations of the WHO.