Coronavirus has spread to the Georgian clergy
A priest from St. John the Theologian church, located in central Tbilisi, has been diagnosed with coronavirus. His test results were confirmed by an employee of the patriarchate’s security service.
As of 10 a.m. on April 14, there were 296 reported cases of coronavirus in Georgia. 4834 people are in quarantine, and 434 patients are under inpatient monitoring. 67 people have recovered and 3 have passed away. 3 Georgian citizens have returned to Georgia from abroad seeking treatment for coronavirus.
The press secretary of the patriarchate, Deacon Andria Dzhagmaidze, says the infected priest has been in the church as recently as a few days ago, where he had contact with other clergy members. He also confirmed that a security guard has become infected. On his Facebook page, he writes that the security officer patrolled the external perimeter, had no contact with representatives of the patriarchate, and did not enter the premises.
The director of the supervisory board of the Vakhtang Bochorishvili clinic, Maki Salogashashvili, states that the priest is being treated at their hospital. His family members – his sister and her child – were also brought here.
The priest’s sister works at the Tbilisi Medical Institute (TMI). There, she infected 4 employees, and as a result, the TMI has been put under quarantine.
The cathedral in which the infected priest serves has been closed. Parishioners who tried to attend services were turned away.
On April 1, Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II stated that the doors of all churches will be open to all who wish to attend the Easter liturgy.
On April 12, senior clergy members announced that they would hold a service on Easter night, i.e. during curfew.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Maya Tskitishvili said that quarantine restrictions apply to everyone without exception, and anyone attending night services are violating both the curfew and the ban on gatherings of more than three people. However, the police still have not fined church members who have violated this requirement.
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To counter further spread of the epidemic in Georgia, the government declared a state of emergency on March 21, and on March 31, imposed a curfew between 9pm and 6am. The cities of Marneuli, Bolnisi, and Lentekhi are on lockdown, as well as the villages of Gvara, Mukhaestate, Legva and Tskavruka in the Kobuleti municipal area.