Marneuli, Bolnisi municipalities in lockdown after infected local has contact with more than 80

  • Georgian Defence Ministry will monitor entries into the municipalities.  Photo: defence ministry press office., 23 Mar 2020 - 10:05, Tbilisi,Georgia

Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities in eastern Georgia have been placed under lockdown after a local, 62-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday after coming into contact with more than 80 people and spending four days in a local hospital. 

The two municipalities have more than 158,000 people total.

How the woman contracted the virus is as of yet unknown. Her health condition is critical. 

However, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and health officials stated that the woman attended a religious event, and that ‘86 individuals with whom she had contact have been identified’, adding that the total number of contacts is far more. 

Georgian health official says that the condition of three patients of 51 infected is critical. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

What does the lockdown mean for the municipalities? 

  • Entry to and exit from the municipalities are under lockdown, and the Georgian Defence Ministry has set up checkpoints. 
  • All stories, except those offering food, medicine or others of critical importance have been closed. 
  • Public transport has been paused indefinitely.
  • Movement inside the municipality is strongly controlled. Locals are able to move about only to buy food, medical products or see a doctor. 
  • Locals may be able to carry out agricultural work only in line with strict rules.
  • Order inside the municipalities will be ensured by the Interior Ministry. 
  • Local hospital, Geo Hospitals, where the infected patient spent four days, is under quarantine. 
  • An open-air hospital has been arranged near the hospital.
  • Doctors will visit all families to check for suspicious symptoms of the virus. 
  • Local media and press will work in an ordinary regime, while the Georgian Public Broadcaster will provide information for other media outlets in the country about the situation in the municipalities. 
  • All those who were in the municipalities at the time of quarantine [who are no residents of the municipalities] will have to stay there for two weeks. 

PM Gakharia has urged public to stay home and stick to the rules imposed in the country. Photo: government of Georgia press office. 

 We will do our best to prevent the spread of the virus in the municipalities. The effectiveness of the steps taken by us will largely be dependent on people, their civil responsibility and cooperation,” Gakharia said.

Gakharia once again urged people to act responsibly and stay home.  

When we participate in public gatherings it does not mean that we are brave or heroes. This means that we do not respect and care about others,” Gakharia said. 

An open-air hospital in Merneuli. 

Local health officials told Reginfo that the 62-year-old woman from Marneuli municipality, which is inhabited mostly by ethnic minorities,  had contact with her sister who came from Azerbaijan. 

Since February 26, 2020 Georgia has had 54 confirmed cases of the respiratory infection, including eight individuals who have recovered [five have been discharged]. 

As of now 3,254 people are under quarantine in Georgia, with 233 others in hospitals.