Gov’t bans private vehicle traffic starting tomorrow 12 p.m. amid increased coronavirus cases

  • No restrictions will apply on cargo transportation, distribution vehicles and delivery services. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Agenda.ge, 16 Apr 2020 - 22:37, Tbilisi,Georgia

Starting 12 p.m. on April 17, all private vehicle traffic will be banned throughout the country until the end of the state of emergency

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s spokesperson Irakli Chikovani has announced at a recent news briefing today that despite “the strict recommendations” from healthcare officials to stay home, there is still much movement on the streets.

As of now, Georgia has confirmed a total of 348 cases of COVID-19 since February 28, including 76 recoveries and three deaths.

No restrictions will apply on cargo transportation, distribution vehicles and delivery service. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Moreover, starting tomorrow, it will be mandatory to wear face masks at all closed public spaces. Otherwise the relevant legal entities will be fined with GEL 15,000 for violation of the state of emergency regulations. 

During ten days from April 17, restrictions will be imposed on visiting cemeteries in all cities throughout the country as well. 

Calling on everyone to “precisely follow” all of the recommendations and regulations during the state of emergency, Irakli Chikovani said, otherwise, the government will be forced to declare the “nationwide lockdown”.

Please, take care of each other and our country and don’t violate the law, stay home! This is the one and only appeal of the Georgian government”, Chikovani stated. 

Four main cities of Georgia - Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi and Rustavi - have been placed under lockdown for at least ten days to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Head of the Georgian National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Amiran Gamkrelidze and his deputy Paata Imnadze also attended the briefing. 

Gamkrelidze said the country has spared no efforts to contain the spread of the virus so far, however, he said, now the country has moved to a stage of “community transmission”, which might become “uncontrollable” if citizens would not follow the recommendations of the state and healthcare officials. 

There is no vaccination and it will not be approximately until the end of the year; there is also no direct medicine [against the virus] yet. We, doctors and scientists, hope a lot that there will be such a medication somewhere in mid-autumn”, Gamkrelidze said.

Until then, he said, one of the powerful weapons against COVID-19 remains social distancing. Gamkrelidze again called on the citizens not to attend the upcoming Easter service at churches, but rather stay home and avoid public gatherings.

The Georgian government and the patriarchate have agreed that the traditional Easter service on Saturday night will be held with police supervision despite the curfew. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

On his part, Paata Imnadze added that unfortunately today there are some unidentified infected individuals in the country, who might not even be aware of their infection, but they can unknowingly transmit the virus to others.

Therefore, he said, any public gathering can be “dangerous“ nowadays and there is no other way to avoid further spread of the virus except from maintaining social distancing. 

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