Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Georgia extend nationwide state of emergency through May 22 to combat COVID-19. Significant disruptions likely.

This alert affects Georgia

This alert began 22 Apr 2020 01:19 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 22
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions; heightened security

Summary
Authorities in Georgia extended the nationwide state of emergency through May 22 as part of the country's efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities also extended the nationwide ban on the use of all private vehicles, including taxis, until April 26. Freight or food delivery vehicles are exempt from the order. Drivers will require an official permit before using private vehicles. While people requiring routine medical treatment for chronic conditions will need a permit, officials will waive the requirement in cases of a medical emergency. Companies providing essential services are required to provide transport to employees commuting from their residences. Further restrictions announced April 16 include a requirement for people to wear face masks in all enclosed public places and the closure of public cemeteries - other than for funerals - until April 27.

A nationwide 2100-0600 curfew will also remain in effect through May 22, during which residents, except government-approved critical workers, are to stay home. Additional restrictions in place as part of the state of emergency include:

  • A ban on nonessential travel outside the home;
  • Closure of all nonessential businesses and establishments, including educational facilities.
  • A ban on travel between municipalities unless traveling home;
  • Entry to and exit from Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, and Rustavi remain prohibited until April 27;
  • The suspension of almost all international flights;
  • The suspension of public transport, including metro and rail services;
  • A ban on gatherings of more than three people;
  • A ban on individuals over 70 years of age leaving home;
  • The requirement to carry identity documents at all times;
  • Quarantine measures are in effect for Bolnisi, Lentekhsky, and Marneuli districts, as well as parts of Khidiskuri and Kobuletsky districts.


These measures are in addition to previous restrictions barring most foreigners from entering the country. The borders with Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia, are currently closed; the Sarpi border crossing with Turkey has suspended operations. All persons arriving in Georgia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. The restrictions do not impact freight transport.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV2-virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Government of Georgia Coronavirus Hub: www.stopcov.ge

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int