Georgian PM says ‘no reason to panic’ as first case of coronavirus reported

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia chairs the council created in response to Covid-19. Photo: government of Georgia press office., 27 Feb 2020 - 10:53, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has responded to the detection of the first case of the new, China-born coronavirus Covid-19 in Georgia, stating that ‘there is no reason to panic, as the government is in absolute control of the situation.’ 

We have no reason to panic. The Health Ministry, all responsible agencies and the inter-agency council [created to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country] are in total control of the situation,” Gakharia said. 

Gakharia stated that the 50-year-old Georgian citizen, who travelled in Iran and came back to the Georgian border via Azerbaijan by taxi, had no contact with people inside the country as he was stopped by Georgian border guards and was immediately transported to quarantine in Tbilisi Hospital for Infectious Diseases. 

 We paused flights with Iran earlier this month. When the first case was confirmed yesterday we also imposed restrictions for road travel with the country,” Gakharia said. 

Georgian Health officials confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus  yesterday, stating that the Georgian citizen spent a week in Iran with his friend, then came to Azerbaijan via bus and from there hired a taxi to the Georgian border. 

The list shows confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Europe. 

Chart by BBC. 

Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze said that Georgian border guards, who wore special equipment, checked the man and he was transported to Tbilisi by medics because of his suspicious symptoms.

However, anyway, the border guards [who had the contact with the infected man] have been isolated," she said

Head of National Disease Control Centre Amiran Gamkrelidze said that information is being collected about the people in Azerbaijan and Iran the infected man had contact with.

We will send the information to the World Health Organisation, to Azerbaijan and Iran to prevent possible cases,” Gamkrelidze said. 

He stated that ‘there is no reason to panic,’ as the country has taken all measures to prevent the spread of the virus and ‘we are prepared for the virus better than for any other virus in the history of independent Georgia.’ 

He urged people to adhere to the recommendations of the World Health Organisation regarding the virus and receive information from official sources inside the country. 

By BBC. 

The top recommendations to prevent the spread of the respiratory infection involve refraining from visiting countries which are experiencing an outbreak of the virus – mostly China, South Korea, Italy and Iran; frequently washing hands; using face masks and avoiding public gatherings. 

  • The virus, which appeared first in the city of Wuhan of China at the end of 2019, comes with high fever, followed by dry cough and shortness of breath.
  • Globally, more than 80,000 people in about 40 countries have been infected with the new coronavirus. The vast majority are in China. 32, 900 have been recovered. 
  • The coronavirus had infected 78,159 people in China as of 26 February, resulting in 2,717 deaths.
  • In most cases the virus is mild and ends with complete recovery.
  • In the past two days, together with Georgia, Austria, Croatia, Greece, Norway, Switzerland and North Macedonia reported their first coronavirus cases
  • The incubation period from infection to showing symptoms can last up to 14 days.