Amnesty International: Georgia enacted necessary anti-coronavirus measures, but churches remain open

  • Amnesty International has released its study on how the Eastern European and Central Asian countries responded to the coronavirus. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge. 

Agenda.ge, 29 Apr 2020 - 13:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

Amnesty International says in its most recent study that Georgia enacted necessary state of emergency measures on April 21. However, it says that concerns were raised that certain anti-Covid-19 measures were applied ‘in a discriminatory fashion.’  

Contrary to medical advice, religious gatherings have not been restricted by law largely to ensure that the Georgian Orthodox Church could conduct liturgies for Orthodox Easter. During Palm Sunday and Easter celebrations on 12 April and 19 April in Georgia, several Orthodox churches hosted dozens of worshippers. All other religious groups in Georgia have voluntarily agreed to close their places of worship to the public,” said the study. 

The study also said that some governments in the region are introducing measures to protect the most vulnerable. 

Worshippers at large churches had to maintain a 2-meter social distance, while in small churches worshippers had to stay outside during the service. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

On 14 April the Prime Minister of Georgia declared that the government plans to give out unemployment benefits to those who lost jobs due to COVID-19, and the ensuing restrictions. The government also announced that it will cover payments for gas, electricity and water bills for those who consume less than 200 kw of electricity and 200 cubic meters of natural gas during the state of emergency months,” Amnesty International said. 

Only clerics were allowed in small churches of Georgia during the Easter holiday, while parishioners were allowed in large churches to stand in a two-meter distance from one another. 

Cemeteries still remain closed around the country. 

Georgia has had no serious increase in coronavirus cases following the holiday. 

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