Georgia state of emergency over coronavirus
Georgian authorities warn of the danger of the spread of COVID-19
Georgia has moved from the stage of containing the new coronavirus infection COVID-19 to the stage of its spread. Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said this on March 17.
“This means that infections will increase. This is an objective reality and we must speak openly, “Gakharia said at a special briefing..
In Georgia, 34 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, and one of them has already recovered. Currently, 1,008 people are in quarantine, and 64 are under observation in hospitals..
Sanctions and restrictions
On Tuesday, it became known that Tbilisi intends to impose sanctions for violation of quarantine and self-isolation regime for coronavirus. Archil Talakvadze, Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, said on March 17 that the parliament would consider the relevant initiative in an expedited manner.
In general, according to official data, since the outbreak of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19 in Georgia, more than 70 people have tried to violate the self-isolation regime..
It is noteworthy that the country has a mandatory two-week quarantine for people who have visited countries with a “high risk” of contracting a new virus, i.e. in China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Norway or Denmark.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Georgia will close the borders for the entry of foreigners for two weeks from March 18. Those Georgian citizens who are abroad will be able to return home by special flights. Family members of Georgian citizens can also take advantage of this opportunity..
Previously, restrictions were imposed on the movement of individuals across the borders of Georgia with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia and partly with Turkey. This rule does not apply to cargo.
The country has banned route taxis, the so-called “minibuses” which, as the Georgian prime minister said on March 17, are “the most significant hotbed of the spread of infection.” At the same time, buses and metro will continue to operate, although the number of passengers using public transport has significantly decreased in Georgia..
Since the beginning of March, all Georgian universities have been working remotely, schools and kindergartens are closed for the holidays. Employees in most institutions do work from home.
In order to prevent the spread of a new infection, government agencies have introduced new working rules for journalists. In particular, interviews can be recorded in designated places, where special tribunes are installed, allowing you to maintain the necessary distance between respondents and media representatives..
Gyms and spas have completely stopped operating in the country. At the same time, the Georgian government recommended closing beauty salons, entertainment centers, casinos and sweepstakes, restaurants and cafes..
Tbilisi expressed readiness to provide equivalent assistance in the fight against COVID-19 to fellow citizens in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region.
“As for the occupied territories, we are limited in providing our fellow citizens with the same assistance as other citizens of Georgia. Nevertheless, we are ready to provide comprehensive assistance to citizens living in the occupied territories so that they can cope with this global challenge, “the Georgian prime minister said on March 17.
Sukhumi and Tskhinvali claim that there are no people infected with coronavirus in these regions. At the same time, in separatist South Ossetia on March 13, five people were quarantined with suspected COVID-19..
At the same time, Tbilisi believes that the statistics of the separatist authorities may be inaccurate, since there is no way to diagnose COVID-19 in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region. At the same time, the Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center operates in the capital of Georgia. At the beginning of February, this laboratory received modern test systems, thanks to which it became possible to determine COVID-19. Prior to this, biomaterials of Georgian patients with suspected new coronavirus were sent to one of the Dutch laboratories..
Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, Georgia’s State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality, previously announced Tbilisi’s readiness to help residents of the separatist regions “with diagnostics and critical treatment services for them.”.
Reaction in the separatist regions
Abkhazia and South Ossetia are rejecting Tbilisi’s offer so far, stating that they expect help from Russia.
“Now our request is being processed, and in the near future we should receive an appropriate response from the Russian side and we will receive the necessary drugs against coronavirus,” de facto head of the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry, Daur Kove, said in his comment..
At the same time, Dmitry Medoev, a representative of the separatist Tskhinvali, accused the Georgian authorities of “even trying to do political PR for themselves on such a topic as the coronavirus.”.
It is noteworthy that both separatist regions closed the administrative border with the rest of Georgia, this time under the pretext of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Tbilisi claims that this decision will negatively affect the quality of life of the local population, which usually purchases food and medicine in the territory controlled by Tbilisi, where they also use medical services..
The threat of the spread of COVID-19 disrupted the next meeting of the parties in Geneva. The co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions from the UN, OSCE and EU announced on March 16 their decision to postpone the 51st round of talks amid the rapid spread of the new coronavirus infection. The next meeting with the participation of representatives of the UN, European Union, OSCE, USA, Georgia, Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia was to take place on March 31 – April 1. As a reminder, the Geneva discussions on security and stability in the Caucasus have been regularly held since autumn 2008..