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Coronavirus: Georgia Suspends Direct Flights with Italy, Tightens Border Control

On March 6, the Inter-Agency Coordination Council on Coronavirus, a Georgian government task force headed by Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, introduced a number of new precaution measures aimed at fending off the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The government issued a temporary ban on direct flights to and from Italy with immediate effect. The Coordination Council reiterated advice to travelers to refrain from visiting China, South Korea, Italy and Iran, all of which were gravely affected by the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, March 5, the number of Georgian coronavirus cases totaled 9, after confirming six new cases imported from Italy, the location of Europe’s largest coronavirus outbreak. Seven out of the nine patients who are being treated on coronavirus in Georgia today returned to the country from Italy.

In a bid to beef up monitoring of the disease, all travelers (Georgian and foreign), having previously visited the countries designated as high-risk regions by the World Health Organization, are obliged to undergo intensive screening when crossing the state border and spend two weeks under mandatory quarantine. Alternatively, the travelers must present a PCR (polymerase chain reaction used for detecting the virus) certificate issued by a laboratory in the country of departure, or in case of transit travelers, by a laboratory in the transit country.

Georgia confirmed its first coronavirus case on February 26. Georgian government created ad hoc inter-agency group for tackling coronavirus led by Prime Minister Gakharia on the same day. The group then decided to restrict land travel of Iranian citizens to Georgia and Georgian nationals to Iran for two weeks. Georgian authorities have cut flights to and from Iran since February 23. Earlier on January 29, Georgian government took the same measure regarding the flights with China.
The Georgian government launched a website – StopCov.ge – to help preventing the novel virus in the country.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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