“The first thing I’ll do when I get out is kiss my wife”: seven stories from quarantine in Georgia
There are around 70 quarantine zones established in Georgia, where more than 5,000 people are currently isolated due to the coronavirus. These zones are often private hotels given up by the owners to the state for use during the pandemic.
Among them are five-star hotels, where rooms normally cost around $200 a night.
But that is not the story here. JAMnews spoke with several people living in quarantine zones. These are their stories.
As of the morning of April 9, there are 208 reported cases of coronavirus in Georgia. Of these, 46 people have recovered and three people have died. On March 21, Georgia declared a state of emergency and on March 31, a curfew was imposed.
Dea Suluashvili, 21, student
It was my fourth year of study in Berlin. My friends all decided to go home, and I ended up caving and deciding to go home too.
If only I had known that I wouldn’t be with by parents during the quarantine! From the airport, they brought me straight to the Tower Hotel.
The hardest thing is food, since I am a vegetarian. Five days later, they allowed me to switch to self-isolation, but only after they were convinced that I had my own separate apartment.
Maka Maglakelidze, 39, healthcare specialist
I lived in Berlin for a long time. When I got sick of it, I decided to go back home.
The plane landed in Batumi. Everything is so much more organized here than in the land of the famous German discipline. I was put on a bus and taken to quarantine.
I’m living in a hotel room with a breathtaking view of the sea. I can order anything I want from the store. Aside from alcohol. And that’s too bad, I’d actually enjoy a glass of wine.
I watch movies, read, do yoga. I just have to hold on another nine days. I understand how people in prison must feel.
Zura Mamagulashvili, 28, director
On March 5 I was sent to a conference about the various cultures on the island of Réunion. And then the pandemic struck. I had to change my plane tickets twice just to get back.
They checked my temperature upon arrival. It turns out mine was a little high.
I spent the night in a tent, right there, on the floor of the airport. In the morning, they sent me to a hospital in Gori, then to Sairme – the Best Western Sairme Resorts Hotel.
My dad is worried. All sorts of possibilities are running through my own head because of the uncertainty: I could be hooked up to a ventilator, or even die.
I feel like I’m in a movie. I just wish it would end soon.
I miss good food, unlike the stuff we get here, which comes in a bag.
Since I have nothing to do, I’ve been observing the staff and have come to the conclusion that there are two people in charge of food distribution. One ties the bags with a complicated knot, the other, with a simple slip knot.
Guards are on duty at the entrance to the hotel. Recently they entertained us – they sang great. Thank you guys!
Ruso Kvantaliani, 32, master’s student
In Switzerland, where I study, the elderly were all admitted to hospitals. And the authorities urged young people to self-isolate. I decided it was better to return to my homeland.
It is my ninth day in quarantine in a hotel on Lake Lopota in Kakheti. I look out on the beautiful scenery whenever I don’t have online lectures.
I miss my dog a lot. But I have to comply with doctor recommendations. This is the only way we can beat the epidemic.
Dea Kaldani, 33, beauty salon manager
I went to Greece to visit my mom, who has been working in a nursing home for 12 years. When the pandemic was declared, she was locked in at work.
The cafes and stores all began to close. No one was allowed outside without a special permission slip. There was nothing to do there, but it ended up being hard to leave.
The pandemic didn’t hit Greece too hard, and special flights were organized primarily to the “red belt” countries. Only a week later did I manage to escape.
The flight was awful, the airport was overflowing, there were mountains of baggage, crying children, and desperate people who were ready to stand the whole flight, if necessary.
Landing in Tbilisi was a salvation. And the Kachreti Ambassador Hotel, where I was placed with a temperature of 37 C, I see as a paradise.
Tina Shubladze, 38, manager at British pharmaceutical company GSK
I’ve been checked, disinfected, and given my instructions, and it is already my third day in the Sheraton Hotel in Tbilisi.
I could have stayed in London, but the situation was taking a turn for the worse there, and they treated those who were infected in such a way that I decided I’d rather go back to Tbilisi and be closer to my husband and kids here.
I work remotely, talk to people through social media, read. I home I’ll be able to go home to my family soon.
William Reed, 59, ship captain
I’m from Scotland. My wife is Georgian. I spend a lot of my time out on the sea. I landed in Scotland when my wife said the situation was getting worse.
I tried to come home and ended up in a five-star hotel on Lake Lopota!
I am very familiar with Georgian cuisine. I can assure you that the food in quarantine is excellent.
I don’t speak Georgian. I thought I’d have to work on it. But every now and then, I get a ‘Good morning, sir!’ apparently, just to make me feel more comfortable.
I write a blog where I describe Georgia. I took my golf clubs with me and practice in the room.
It’s like that joke: a guy was sentenced to give years, he took his golf clubs with him, and when he got out he became the world champion.
That’ll be me — when I get out of quarantine, I’ll go play a round, but first thing I’ll do is kiss my wife!