To Minimize Virus Spread, Government, in Light of High Epidemiological Risks, Adopts Strict Quarantine Restrictions Under State of Emergency Print Version

2020-03-23

"Presently, 54 people are infected in Georgia, and 3254 are quarantined. As you know, a state of national emergency was declared in the country on March 21. Today, however, we are facing a very difficult case, an infected woman from Marneuli whose source of infection has not been identified. We have been discussing and preparing for this case for days now, meaning the phase of domestic transmission in the country. The unfortunate part of it is that, according to our epidemiologists, domestic transmission is likely to have taken place during a ritual attended by tens of people. Accordingly, that our epidemiologists have identified 90 contacts does not mean anything. The situation is quite difficult, and this challenge and problem is what we have been referring to as domestic transmission, the domestic spread phase, and we have been doing everything to be maximally ready for it. And we are, in fact, maximally ready. Despite all these preparations, however, the situation is very difficult, which is why the Government of Georgia had to make a decision to place Marneuli and Bolnisi Municipalities on lockdown," Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stated during the briefing following today's meeting of the Interagency Coordination Council on Coronavirus.

The Head of Government defined in detail these strict quarantine restrictions.

"Effective today, entering and leaving Marneuli and Bolnisi Municipalities will be restricted. All outlets will be shut down, except for food stores, pharmacies, and other essential infrastructural facilities. Public transport will be restricted as well, and so will be movement within the municipalities, with the exception of citizens leaving home for food, medications, or medical services. We also allowed for an exception, and in cases meeting clearly defined protocol from our medics, we will enable Marneuli and Bolnisi residents to carry out agricultural activities.

The Interior Ministry is in charge of maintaining public order and enforcing a state of emergency in the municipalities. This is the exclusive prerogative of the Interior Ministry," Giorgi Gakharia said.

According to the Prime Minister, the Geo Hospitals Clinic in Marneuli, where the coronavirus-infected woman was hospitalized, is already under quarantine.

"As of today, the clinic is under quarantine. A field hospital will be installed near the clinic within the next 24 hours, while the other clinic in the municipality, Aversi, will continue operating as a multifunctional medical institution in the Marneuli Municipality," the Prime Minister stated.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, the everything to minimize the scope and speed of transmission in these municipalities. The success and effectiveness of these measures depend not only on the measures carried out by the Government, but also on cooperation with and goodwill on the part of our Georgia's citizens, the Prime Minister added.

"We will do everything to take care of all our citizens in Marneuli and Bolnisi Municipalities. We all understand that these are last-resort measures, and the reason and goal of these measures is the health of all our citizens. We will do everything to minimize the scope and speed of transmission in these municipalities. That is the goal of these difficult and tough measures. But we must all remember that the success and effectiveness of these measures depend not only on the measures carried out by the Government, but also on cooperation with and goodwill on the part of our citizens, their civic consciousness, and on the civic consciousness of the civic sector operating in these regions and throughout the country," the Prime Minister underlined.

According to the Head of Government, the local media and press in Marneuli and Bolnisi will continue as usual, while the Public Broadcaster will supply other media outlets with information.

"Of course, all local media outlets and the press will continue operating as usual, but I emphasize the word local, because all other media outlets will receive information and media resources through the Public Broadcaster. The Public Broadcaster will post several groups with relevant equipment to work and move around within the municipalities," Giorgi Gakharia said.

Coordination with the municipalities will be ensured with Prime Minister's Adviser on Regional Development Sozar Subari, Giorgi Gakharia added.

"On behalf of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Government, this direction is led by Sozar Subari who is also in charge of coordination," the Prime Minister said.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, tomorrow morning, the local authorities and healthcare institutions will make door-to-door rounds in the municipalities in order to ensure fast and effective response to possible infections.

"Tomorrow morning, the municipalities and healthcare authorities will make door-to-door rounds in these two municipalities to identify persons with fever, those posing possible risks, in order to ensure fast response to possible infections and provide medical treatment. They are also instructed to meet every need that the households in the municipalities may have, be they related to food, medical assistance, and so on," the Prime Minister of Georgia said.

The Head of Government emphasized that everything will be done to overcome this challenge as fast as possible.

"Tomorrow morning, the local authorities, municipalities, and healthcare institutions-as well as those responsible for ensuring comfort for our citizens in Marneuli and Bolnisi Municipalities, and for contributing to the effective fight against this challenge-will do everything to make sure that we all together-and, above all else, our citizens-do away with this challenge as painlessly and fast as possible," the Prime Minister pointed out.

According to Gakharia, participation in mass gatherings does not equal heroism or courage. On the contrary, it means disrespect for those around us.

"For about a week, we have been talking about domestic transmission, and we have been trying to give fair warning about the state's limited resources for simply identifying sources of infections fast enough, and this is where the civic consciousness and responsibility of our citizens is key. And if we go to places of public gathering, it does not mean that we are heroes, that we are courageous. It means that we simply disrespect those around us. It means that we disrespect our parents and families. I address all our citizens and state that all our steps today do not imply responsibility just for our health and lives. They imply responsibility for the health and future of those around us, our family members and neighbors, our compatriots and colleagues, and, ultimately, of the whole nation," the Prime Minister stated at the briefing following today's meeting of the Interagency Coordination Council on Coronavirus.

Press Service of the Government Administration