Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Georgia maintaining nationwide state of emergency through May 22 due to COVID-19 activity. Some restrictions to be relaxed from April 27.
This alert affects Georgia
This alert began 25 Apr 2020 13:45 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
Authorities in Georgia are maintaining the extended state of emergency through May 22 as part of the country's efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The government has also announced that it will begin a six-stage phased approach to reopening the economy and relaxing some restrictions on business and movements, beginning April 27. Each phase will initially be instated for a period of two weeks; however this time frame as well as the measures included in each phase, could change at short notice. Stage 1 will begin April 27, and will include lifting the ban on the use of private vehicles and taxis, though public transport will still be suspended. Restrictions on E-commerce, including all online shopping, as well delivery services, and open-air agricultural markets, will also be lifted.
Existing measures under the state of emergency are still in place through at least May 22. This includes the nationwide 2100-0600 curfew, 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.
- Mandatory use of a face mask in public.
- 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 further notice; restrictions will be eased April 27-28, to allow certain individuals to return home.
- 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, Kobuletsky, and Terjola 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 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. The six-stage phased reopening forms part of the GEL 3.5 billion Anti-Crisis Economic Plan announced by Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia April 24 to ease the economic burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan is aimed at offering social support and healthcare to citizens, as well as to support the economy and entrepreneurs. Should the number of COVID-19 cases increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in 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.
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.