Leading Georgian health experts call for tighter coronavirus regulations ‘to avoid tragic consequences’
The coronavirus is spreading very quickly in Georgia: the number of daily cases has surpassed 3,000 for several weeks now, and the authorities are planning to make the existing coronavirus regulations more severe, although there will be no complete closure of the country, said the head of the National Center for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze.
Georgian health professionals sent a letter to the authorities, in which they listed the new tough anti-epidemic measures that must be urgently taken ‘to avoid much more tragic consequences than currently exist.’
More about the experts’ suggestions below.
On November 17, another 3,117 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in Georgia, another 45 people died. In total, 85,952 people have been infected since the beginning of the pandemic, of which 778 have died, 68,929 have recovered.
Commenting on official data, Amiran Gamkrelidze said that in reality, the number of daily infections could be twice as high.
According to the estimated index, in Georgia, in fact, from five to six thousand people are infected with the coronavirus every day.
On November 17, a message was received that the chief infectious disease specialist of Georgia, the director of the Tbilisi Infectious Diseases Hospital, Tengiz Tsertsvadze, was infected.
His health condition is satisfactory, he has mild symptoms and he is being treated at home.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, about 4,000 medical workers have been infected with the coronavirus in Georgia.
Currently in Georgia there is a restriction of movement from 22.00 to 05.00, and a fine of 2,000 lari [about $700] for violators. Everyone is required to masks anywhere outside the home; there is monitoring of the observance of social distancing in transport, shops and other public places and recommendations to work from home for everyone for whom it is possible.
Gamkrelidze has not yet specified what recommendations he will give at the meeting of the Coordinating Council, which makes decisions.
“The main thing, however, is not the introduction of new restrictions, but the observance of the basic rules by the population,” Gamkrelidze stressed again.
What do specialists propose?
The country’s leading health experts say the pandemic should become a priority among national security issues and move from the area of political struggle to the level of national interests.
In general, the appeal contains the following recommendations:
Create a national mechanism involving all stakeholders, regardless of political affiliation.
Strengthen discipline and control over compliance with restrictions, as well as improve coordination between departments.
To prevent the collapse of the healthcare system, reduce the number of visits to medical institutions and treat patients at home.
Create a single standard for what people who have symptoms or have already been diagnosed with coronavirus should do.
Make more use of modern opportunities – websites, online consulting.
Reduce pandemic-related costs to the public – develop mechanisms to make services more specific and targeted, including in relation to laboratories and hospitals.
The state should cooperate more with the private sector and involve it at all levels (transport, laboratory services, hospital services, etc.)
The appeal was prepared within the framework of the joint platform of the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) and the USAID Democratic Governance Initiative (GGI).