Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced on Wednesday, May 27, that Georgia will restart public transport and reopen shops, shopping malls and cafes and restaurants by Monday, June 8, in an attempt to ease restrictions introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Specifically, municipal public transport (metro, buses, and minibuses) will resume from Friday, 29 May. Inter-city public transport will resume on 8 June. It will be mandatory to wear masks on all public transport. All public transportation services, including the metro, will remain suspended until services begin to resume from May 29.
Open-air restaurants and shops, as well as shopping malls, will re-open from Monday, 1 June. Indoor restaurants and hotels that have been licensed following an inspection will re-open from 8 June.
As of Saturday, May 23, most shops and services, except for clothes shops, hairdressers, and beauty parlors, are open, as well as dentists. Although the state of emergency and curfew have been lifted, the following restrictions remain in place. Gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited, and taxis are limited to three passengers on the rear seats. All other forms of public transport remain suspended until further notice. Facemasks must be worn in enclosed spaces such as shops. Fines of 3000 GEL (941 USD) for individuals and 15,000 (4709 USD) for legal entities for violation of restrictions are in place. Those over 70 should only leave their homes to go to the nearest grocery shop, pharmacy, or medical center.
All flights to and from Georgia, except for repatriation flights organized by the government for Georgian citizens, have been canceled until further notice. Borders have been closed to all foreign travelers, including passenger rail traffic. Many nonessential businesses will remain closed until at least May 29, including resorts, restaurants, cafés, casinos, nightclubs, and gyms. Additional checkpoints have been erected in Tbilisi and six other major cities to screen individuals and to enforce movement restrictions.
As of May 27, health authorities have confirmed 735 cases of COVID-19 in Georgia, including 12 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
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.
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, 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.
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