“Thousands may get infected in Georgia within 2-3 weeks” - Center for Disease Control
Many in Georgia demand that the government ban public services in churches as one of the main dangers of the spread of coronavirus.
The director of the National Center for Disease Control of Georgia Amiran Gamkrelidze made a sharp appeal to the population On April 15.
“The number of people infected with COVID-19 in Georgia has exceeded 300 people. This means that the next 2-3 weeks will be very difficult for the country. If the population can’t strictly observe the social distance, thousands will be infected with the coronavirus”, Gamkrelidze said.
As of 15 April in Georgia, 306 cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed. Of these, 69 people have recovered, three have died. There are 4,990 people in quarantine, while 462 are under the supervision of a hospital.
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Gamkrelidze says there are still too many people in Tbilisi on the streets, a lot of cars and people continue to gather.
“This is playing with fire”, Gamkrelidze says.
“World experience shows that 20-30 percent of those infected will need intensive care. This is a huge burden for the healthcare system, and then we must be prepared for losses,” said the head of the National Center for Disease Control.
Among the new cases are five people from a team of paramedics. A doctor and a nurse at a medical center in Kobuleti have also become infected.
Marneuli, Bolnisi and Lentekhi and four villages in the coastal Kobuleti district have been placed on lockdown due to at create of communal infection.
On April 15, another village will be added to them – Khovle in the Caspian region.
Starting from the evening of April 15, Tbilisi, in addition to the next three largest cities in Georgia will also be closed – Kutaisi, Batumi and Rustavi.
Since March 21, a state of emergency has been in effect in Georgia, which is likely to be extended until May 10.
Cemeteries may be closed across the country to prevent people from gathering there on Easter, which is on April 19.
The only institution in Georgia that openly states that it will not abide by the rules and prohibitions of the state of emergency is the Georgian Patriarchate.
Senior clergy openly declare that they intend to hold a liturgy on Easter night, from April 18 to 19, in the presence of parishioners. The church also insists on continuing the tradition of the communion from one vessel.
“A fine for selling tulips – but hundreds can stand in churches”
“We locked people in their houses without telling them what they were supposed to eat while they were locked up. The government does not dare to convey its demands to large figures, but fines a 73-year-old man who sells tulips in order to earn something to eat,” said a representative of Akaki Bobokhidze, a member of the European Georgia opposition party.
Bobokhidze here refers to the story of an elderly resident of Telavi, Misha Karaulashvili. who sold flowers from his garden at a local church on Palm Sunday, and received a fine of 3,000 GEL [approximately $1,000] for doing so.
By the time the police approached him, Karaulashvili had managed to sell only nine flowers.
After RFE/RL covered the story, a Facebook campaign began for Karaulashvili, who has now received more than 5,000 GEL to cover the fine.