Georgian government suggests working from home, self-isolation and quarantine
The Georgian government is now operating on a 24-hour emergency basis. This was announced by by Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia at a cabinet meeting today, which was the first government meeting since the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.
At 11:00 a.m. on March 12, there were 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia.
The prime minister says that the emergency regime in particular applies to the Ministries of Health, Internal Affairs, Justice, Education, Foreign Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Finance institutions working on the border.
“This is clearly a global challenge, but Georgia should be one of the most effective in countering the spread of coronavirus,” Giorgi Gakharia emphasized.
Gakharia says that Georgia is following all WHO recommendations. At the government meeting they made several concrete, compulsory recommendations:
Changing rules about entry into Georgia and quarantine on Georgian borders
While up until this point, compulsory quarantine has been extended to visitors from China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, starting March 12, Germany, Austria, France, and Spain will be added to this list. All Georgian citizens returning from their homeland from these eight countries must undergo a 2-week quarantine without exception. Citizens of other countries must present a certificate of good health at the border to enter Georgia, and also undergo a period of quarantine.
All residents of Georgia are advised to refrain from traveling abroad in the coming months.
Self-isolation will be regulated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs
The prime minister says that self-isolation is the most important measure in preventing the spread of coronavirus. Enforcing compliance is one of the main challenges facing Georgian society. The prime minister instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs to monitor people to ensure strict compliance during their period of self-isolation.
“People who are potential carriers of coronavirus have an obligation to the country and its inhabitants to comply with this period of self-isolation. The Ministry of Internal Affairs will supervise this group of people in coordination with the Ministry of Health,” said Gakharia.
Switching to remote work
Giorgi Gakharia urged state and private organizations to have employees work remotely whenever possible. Gakharia says that anyone who can perform their duties from home without causing any major problems should do so.
Plan to stimulate the economy
The prime minister instructed the economic sector of the government to develop and submit an economic stimulus plan by the end of the day.
“This is of vital importance. We have a commitment to our citizens to ensure the development of the country,” emphasized Gaharia.
Other changes and restrictions
• Yesterday it was announced that classes in Georgia will be cancelled until April 1. The days students miss will be made up at a later date, possibly by holding classes on Saturday and Sunday, scheduling additional classes, or some combination of the two.
• Tbilisi City Hall has also switched to an emergency mode of operation. The city authorities plan to cut down on services that involve large numbers of people. Specific restrictions can be found here.
• The spring military draft was postponed for 1 month until April 13.
• Pata Imnadze, the deputy head of the Center for Disease Control, says that the government will announce new restrictions in the coming days, and it is possible that crowded events such as memorial services and weddings will be prohibited.