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919 new cases in Georgia, gov’t issues recommendations

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, October 16
Georgia reported a record 919 new cases of COVID-19 on October 15th, bringing the tally of total confirmed cases to 14,440. In the meantime, 208 more patients have recovered, increasing the number of recoveries to 7,367. The number of active cases to mid October stands at 6,934. 4 more COVID-related fatalities were recorded, taking the overall number of Georgia’s (excluding occupied territories) COVID-related deaths to 113.

Out of the 919 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, the highest number – 366 – was confirmed in Tbilisi, while the western Adjara region came in second with 286 new cases.

As for the remaining new cases, 104 were diagnosed in Imereti; 21 in Shida Kartli; 44 in Kvemo Kartli; 11 in Mtskheta-Mtianeti; 13 in Guria; 57 in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti; 13 in Kakheti; 3 in Samtskhe-Javakheti, and 1 in Racha-Lechkhumi.

Due to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country, the government has decided to tighten restrictive measures in Tbilisi and Imereti. In particular, from 22:00 the work of restaurants and all entertainment establishments is restricted. The same measure has been in place in Adjara.

Also, according to the decision of the Government of Georgia, part of the restrictions have been lifted due to the stabilization of the situation in Adjara, and some will continue. In particular, public transport, including intercity transport, will be opened in Adjara on October 19th. However, the online learning process remains in force there. The activities of restaurants and entertainment establishments are still limited from 22:00.

After the end of the government session, it became known that the decision to start studying in higher education institutions will not be reconsidered and the students will return to the auditoriums from October 19th. However, higher education institutions are recommended to study remotely, but where it is not possible, studies will continue in auditoriums to conduct laboratory and practical training.

The Prime Minister, Giorgi Gakharia, announced the gradual restoration of air traffic from the end of October. Gakharia said that the frequency of the first stage flights to Munich and France will increase. From November, flights to Europe will resume from both Tbilisi and Kutaisi airports.

According to the PM, the citizens who enter Georgia will no longer have to go through the mandatory 8-day quarantine, but they will have to remain in self-isolation for 12 days. As Gakharia said after the government session, with this decision the government is trying to bring more dynamics to the economy.

“Once new flights are added, the scheme of their transfer to quarantine areas will change. All citizens returning home and having a PCR test will be able to move to self-isolation for 12 days and will no longer be placed in a quarantine area. And if the citizen does not have a PCR test, s/he will be able to use the quarantine space normally,” said Gakharia.

The head of government called on both public and private institutions to shift employees to work remotely, if possible.

“All the enterprises we support should take this into account, and what happened recently in Poti, when up to 100 infected people were identified in one organization (Adjara Textile) - is wrong. We have to take care of the employees and protect them by all means so that we can protect ourselves,” Gakharia said. He also added that the possibility of rescheduling elections are not being discussed and they will not be postponed.

According to the Minister of Health Ekaterine Tikaradze, the country bought 3 times more vaccines in 2020 compared to what was planned to be purchased annually and there’s specific strategy for using it in risk groups.

Tikaradze also announced that 4 additional clinics in Tbilisi will be used in the COVID-19 management process, making 1200 inpatient beds available in Georgia’s capital.

As of now, according to the minister, there are under 4000 inpatient hospital beds, and under 3900 inpatient hotel beds available nationwide for COVID-19 patients.

“There are no plans to set up field hospitals, the healthcare system is ready today to receive a growing number of infected people and to adequately treat them,” said the PM. According to him, there is no deficit in the healthcare system in this regard.