Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Nationwide state of emergency in effect in Georgia until at least May 10; significant business and travel disruptions likely.

This alert affects Georgia

This alert began 17 Apr 2020 11:46 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Until at least May 10
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities have announced a nationwide ban on the use of cars and private vehicles until April 21 as part of efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure will apply over the Orthodox Easter period, and could be extended. The measure will apply to all private vehicles, including taxis, though it will not apply to freight or food delivery vehicles. Drivers will require an official permit before using private vehicles. While people requiring routine medical treatment for chronic conditions will need a permit, the requirement will be waived 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 facemasks in all enclosed public places and the closure of public cemeteries - other than for funerals - until April 27.

A nationwide state of emergency is currently in effect until May 10, including a 2100-0600 curfew, during which no person is permitted to leave their homes, with the exception of government-approved critical workers. 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 are currently prohibited until April 25.
  • 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 the 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: https://stopcov.ge

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