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State of emergency to extend till May 10th

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, April 16
The Government of Georgia appealed to the President to extend the state of emergency until May 10th and to address the Parliament with this proposal. Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stated about it at the special briefing held at the government administration. According to the ruling party MP Mamuka Mdinaradze, the parliament is likely to vote on the issue on April 21st.

According to the decision of the government, it is forbidden to enter and leave four big cities - Tbilisi, Rustavi, Batumi and Kutaisi from 21:00 April 15th. The restriction will last for at least 10 days. The commendants hour will presume as well. According to the PM, this step will further reduce the mobility dose in large cities. He expressed hope that there will be no need to announce a full 24 hour quarantine, however he doesn’t rule out this possibility.

The PM explained that the possibility of this decision depends on 2 things: the speed with which the infection develops and the readiness of the healthcare system to quantify how many infected people can serve.

He also announced that it’s not planned to increase fines for violating quarantine rules, however, the enforcement efficiency will increase, referring to the celebration of Bzoba (April 12th) when the Ministry of Internal Affairs ‘should have acted more effectively.’

However, despite having tightened the state of emergency, there will be exceptions made. In such cases people should call the hotline - 144.

Medical workers, local and international freight trucks, members of the diplomatic corps, international and humanitarian missions, prison staff, employees of electricity, water, gas and telecommunication fields, people providing postal services and managing waste, journalists and private guards on duty, public servants or individuals whose free movement is important will be exempt from this rule.

The people who are registered in the municipalities under the lockdown will be able to enter the municipalities, while people who are registered in other municipalities will be able to leave the municipalities which will be placed under lockdown. People will also be able to transport and bury deceased people in the cities.

Gakharia mentioned no special measures for the Easter holiday and stated that the government and the Church will act together during this time. He stated that the Church is well aware of the situation and ‘we will act together to protect our citizens.’

“I hope for the wisdom and wisdom of our citizens, because the citizen understands that law enforcement and health care is a direct obligation of the state,” stated the PM, adding that an existential task that the church should not be closed, is also understandable. Gakharia said that after all, ‘we are an Orthodox state’ with a millennial history of cooperation between church and state.

Gakharia explained that the churches will not be closed, especially on the night of Easter Easter and such responsibility should be imposed on churches that won’t prevent anyone from entering. However, it’s every citizen’s task to take responsibility for their own health and the PM expressed hope that ‘our wise citizens’ will understand this.

Gakharia did not rule out that the government would decide to close the roads leading to the cemeteries for Easter in order to avoid crowds and, consequently, the danger of the spread of COVID-19. Kutaisi and Zestaponi Municipality have already announced this decision.

Head of the National Disease Control Centre Amiran Gamkrelidze has urged people not to visit cemeteries for the Easter holiday this year as the country ‘has not yet reached the peak of the virus’ spread.’

It’s important that this decision comes after 30 new cases of the Coronavirus were confirmed that day for the first time. Among them was a priest and the guard in the Patriarchate. PM Gakharia held a meeting in the Office of the Church the previous night.

Coronavirus cases stand at 306 in Georgia as of the evening of April 15th. 71 of them have recovered, 3 other patients, elderly, and with several underlying illnesses, have died. 10 of the 232 infected individuals in the country are medical workers. 4,990 people in quarantine and 462 others in hospitals in Georgia. More than 2 million people have been infected with the Coronavirus worldwide.