Doctor denied transfer to Tbilisi hospital dies in occupied Akhalgori from coronavirus

A total of 16 individuals have died in Tskhinvali region since the de-facto leadership closed its crossing-points last September. Photo: Kakha Mchedlidze/RFERL, 15 Nov 2020 - 17:26, Tbilisi,Georgia

A 68-year-old doctor has died of coronavirus in the Russia-occupied Akhalgori district. Onise Gatenashvili was a surgeon at the Akhalgori hospital. His family requested he be sent to Tbilisi for treatment when he tested positive for COVID-19. 

However, local civic activist Tamar Mearakishvili reported, their request ‘was not heard’ by the de-facto Tskhinvali leadership. The doctor was instead sent to Tskhinvali hospital where his condition worsened, Radio Liberty has reported.

It was only afterwards that Tskhinvali doctors decided to send him to Tbilisi, but Onise Gatenashvili died on the way to hospital. 

Occupied Tskhinvali has closed the crossing-points connecting the region with the rest of Georgia for over a year now. Locals, who are not able to receive high quality medical assistance on the ground, are also restricted to go to Tbilisi-controlled territory.

Tbilisi saddened by the doctor's death 

The State Ministry for Reconciliation and Civil Equality has sent condolences to the late doctor's family.

The ministry has meanwhile stated that the doctor was transferred from occupied Tskhinvali via Ergneti crossing-point with support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) yesterday. 

The patient was in a very critical condition and he passed away in an emergency vehicle”, the state ministry said.

It also underscored that the central government of Georgian had ensured all the necessary preconditions for his delivery just after the ICRC informed them of their readiness to evacuate the doctor. 

Calling on the international organisations to ‘strengthen the pressure’ on the occupying regime, the state ministry said the Georgian authorities spare no efforts to ensure safety and freedom of movement for those living along the dividing line.