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23 Mar 2020 | 07:05 AM UTC

Georgia: Government places two cities on lockdown March 22 /update 6

Government places two southern cities on lockdown as of March 22 prevent spread of COVID-19 pandemic; further restrictions possible in the near term

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GEO

Event

As of Sunday, March 22, the southern Marneouli and Bolnisi cities have been quarantined due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Consequently, the estimated 158,000 impacted individuals cannot leave their respective municipalities.

  • All stores, except those offering food, medicine, or essential goods have been closed.
  • Public transport has ceased operations until further notice.
  • Movement within the municipalities is carefully controlled. Residents are only able to go out to buy food, medical supplies, or go to a doctor.
  • All those who were in the municipalities at the time of quarantine (who are not themselves residents of the municipalities,) must remain there for two weeks.  

Georgia declared a one-month state of emergency and banned gatherings of more than ten people on Saturday, March 21, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia clarified that the state of emergency did not stipulate the implementation of a curfew and that individual freedoms would be guaranteed.

The move comes after Georgia's government announced on Monday, March 16, that the country's borders would be closed to all foreigners from Wednesday, March 18, through Wednesday, April 1, due to COVID-19. Georgia has halted all air traffic with other countries effective Friday, March 20, to prevent further spread of the disease within its borders.

As of Sunday, March 22, Georgia has recorded nearly 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Further international spread of COVID-19 the virus is 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 labored 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

To reduce the risk of 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, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.