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20 Mar 2020 | 09:17 AM UTC

Georgia: Authorities halt all air traffic from March 20 due to COVID-19 /update 4

Georgia halts all air traffic with other countries from March 20 due to COVID-19; confirm travel itineraries

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GEO

Event

As of Friday, March 20, Georgia is halting all air traffic with other countries to prevent further spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Government-coordinated flights chartered by Georgian Airways will reportedly be authorized to repatriate citizens from abroad, who will be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon return. The Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) has been tasked with establishing quarantine zones for returning citizens. Quarantine zones will be set up near crossings on Georgia's borders with Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Russia.

On Monday, March 16, Georgia's government announced that the country's borders would be closed to all foreigners from Wednesday, March 18, through Wednesday, April 1, due to COVID-19. 

To date, there have been over 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.