Georgia is extending state of emergency until May 22, Georgian Government’s Spokesperson Irakli Chikovani announced at a news briefing on April 21.
Georgia first declared a month-long state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 21.
The government also extended a nationwide ban on driving private vehicles until April 27.
Spokesperson Chikovani said that Georgian Government intends to gradually lift some restrictions throughout the extended period of state of emergency.
Chikovani noted that, on Friday, April 24, the government will unveil a set of anti-crisis measures aimed the the country recover from coronavirus fallout. “The anti-crisis plan will entail two stages,” noted Chikovani, adding that it will include targeted social assistance, as well as measures to help businesses weather the crisis.
In addition, on April 24, the government will release a plan delineating steps to gradually re-open the economy, stated Chikovani.
„The more strictly the imposed restrictions are observed, the more rapidly the anti-crisis plan developed by the government will be implemented,“ Chikovani said.
Speaking at a news briefing on April 21, Amiran Gamkrelidze, head of the National Disease Control Center, stated that “the sixth and eighth weeks since the outset of the internal transmission will be the most critical period.”
“We have entered the fifth week [since beginning of the outbreak in Georgia]. Therefore, the cases of coronavirus are expected to surge during the last week of April and early May. Thus, our key slogan ‘stay home’ remains valid,” he said.
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia addressed President Zurabishvili to issue a presidential decree and proceed it to the Parliament for approval.
President’s Signs Extension of Emergency
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili also made a televised address on declaring the extension of state of emergency in person, stating that owing to the measures taken a month ago, “we managed to place under control the extent and the scale of the spread of the disease.”
She also noted that challenges facing Georgia “do not allow us to lower our guard and withdraw restrictions prematurely.”
“All possible estimations and predictions indicate to the great threat of the growing community transmission in the coming two to three weeks. We should keep the current regime for some time to maintain the exemplary results attained in the first phase,” President Zurabishvili said.
Zurabishvili noted that she would issue a new decree on extending the state of emergency until May 22.
“I believe that with sensible, timely decisions and with our unity, we will successfully overcome this phase and the situation will get improve ahead of May 26 [Independence Day of Georgia],” the President added.
The Parliament is expected to convene on April 22 in order to discuss the extension. Some opposition politicians claim that if the shortcomings identified during the state of emergency are not rectified and the government does not submit a specific plan on assisting the population, they will not support the decision to extend the state of emergency.
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