Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Georgia lifts state of emergency May 22, and extends many coronavirus disease-related restrictions through July 15.

This alert affects Georgia

This alert began 22 May 2020 13:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Georgia lifted a nationwide state of emergency May 22. The state of emergency was implemented to empower the government to impose restrictive measures to control the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Parliament has adopted an amended health law that allows the government to extend several COVID-19-related measures to at least July 15.

  • Almost all international flights remain suspended, with the exception of repatriation and other critical flights.
  • The borders with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, and Turkey remain closed.
  • Ferry services have been canceled.
  • Most foreigners remain barred from entering the country.
  • The restrictions do not impact freight transport.
  • All persons arriving in Georgia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Shopping malls, recreational facilities, and sports facilities remain closed.
  • Restaurants may only serve takeaways and collections.
  • The use of facemasks is mandatory.
  • All educational facilities remain closed.
  • Individuals over 70 years of age must stay home. Gatherings of more than three people remain banned nationwide.


Authorities previously lifted restrictions on entering and exiting Tbilisi, Batumi, Gori, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Gardabani, and Marneuli. Restrictions on movement within these cities were also lifted. Additionally, construction work, production of construction materials, and automobile service centers have been permitted to reopen. Wholesale and retail trade, except for clothing, has also resumed in these locations. Authorities lifted the ban on the use of private vehicles and taxis April 27. Restrictions on online shopping, delivery services, and open-air agricultural markets were also lifted.

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 restrictive measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. Should the number of COVID-19 cases increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

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.


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