The virus reached Georgia as well. The first case of corona virus in Georgia was registered on the 26th of February. According to the Minister of Health of Georgia, the virus was revealed in a citizen of Georgia, a 50 years old man who departed from Iran via Azerbaijan on the 26th of February.
The Prime-Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia established an Extraordinary Interdepartmental Coordination Group which resolved to ban inland movement between Georgia and Iran for two weeks. According to Gakharia, due to the corona virus there is no any ground for panics in the state. The Ministry of Health and relevant authorities control the situation completely.
Simultaneously, the Hungarian air company “WizzAir” decreased a number of flights from the Kutaisi airport to several Italian cities. The Association of Airports of Georgia reports that number of flights was decreased in direction of Milan and Rome from four – to one flight.
Main Authority on Management and Coordination of Borders of the Department of Patrol Police of MIA of Georgia, to prevent spreading of a new corona virus in Georgia and to provide an operative respond on the border checkpoints inspects all passengers arrived from the countries which are recognized as the zones of high risk by the WHO and registers information about their placement in Georgia.
Currently, according to the resolution of WHO, countries of a high risk include four states: China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. The risk-groups include citizens of all third parties and citizens of Georgia who visited the above-mentioned risk-zones for the last two weeks.
Intensive inspections of passengers are conducted in inland border checkpoints “Red Bridge” (Azerbaijan), “Sadakhlo” (Armenia), “Sarpi” (Turkey) and “Dariali” (Russia), as well as air border checkpoints (in all three airports of Georgia: Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi). Besides, on this checkpoints medical personnel is being on duty all the time.
As a preventive measure due to the corona virus in all regions of Georgia school holidays were declared since the 2nd – till the 16th March. Kindergartens and organizations of different profiles, as well as the public transport conduct intensive disinfection works.
Revenues Service of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia reports that the sanitarian control is conducted by authorized bodies of the Revenue Service in the areas of international shipping, marine ports, airports and inland custom checkpoints having a qualification of the physician of general practice, epidemiologist or a sanitarian physician.
Recently, the Customs Department of the Revenue Service is responsible for the thermal screening of all drivers of passengers and cargo vehicles visiting the states of the risk group (China, Iran, South Korea, Italy).
On all customs checkpoints of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia there are special banners in Georgian, English and Chinese languages containing recommendations on prevention and prophylactics of the corona virus.
Besides, all passengers visiting states of the risk group get recommendation to self-isolate themselves (to limit a contact with other people and remain on the address indicated in the Attachment for 14 days).
In addition to it some restrictions were implemented on movement of people visiting the Islamic Republic of Iran for the last two weeks. If a person is a citizen of Georgia he is liable to enter the country. In this case a passenger/ a driver passes through a thermal screening. If it turns out that he has a temperature more than the norm, this citizen will be transported to the medical organization, and in case of a normal temperature, he will pass through the quarantine.
Vano Mtvralashvili, a member of the Directorate of the Georgian-Iranian Commercial-Industrial Chamber commented an impact of the corona virus on business relations between both countries and stated that we deal with a force-majeure. “Closing of borders, even indirectly, will create problems initially. If we consider supplies of the road bitumen which is a leading product in the group of imported products from Iran, taking into consideration that in 2019 Georgia received this product on the amount of 50 mln US dollars, it means that 90% of the road bitumen necessary for the road construction is imported from Iran. We can find alternative ways, but it will have an effect on the price. Generally, epidemics of the corona virus created serious problems for development of the world economics. Prices on oil are falling down as well as the stock index, and now specialists make calculations of the possible damage for the world economics. Certainly, it will touch our country as well”.
Mtvralashvili considers that this situation was transformed into the force-majeure event. Iran, as well as the South Korea are on the third place in spreading of the virus. An issue of business relations with Iran is very acute.
According to the Minister of Economics and Sustainable Development of Georgia Natia Turnava, restricting of direct flights to China and Iran will incur a loss to the touristic sector in the amount of 30 mln. US dollars per month.
“Despite of the fact that Iran is not on the first position in the list of key business partners of Georgia, the current situation will damage Georgian economics,” – states expert in economic issues, Professor Soso Archvadze.
“Suspending of air links with Iran due to the corona virus will cause a huge damage to the Georgian economics. Direct loss may amount to about 100 mln. US dollars, – incomes being received by Georgian from Iranian investors, businessmen and tourists”, – reported Archvadze.
According to the Professor, China occupies a special role in the world economics, for decades of years China has been a “plant of the world”. It, in fact, will cause serious changes in the world economic practice and all over the world. Decreasing of volumes of production will cause failure in growing of this product as well as potential profit of all auxiliary fields, productions and services.
Archvadze states that government of China managed, in few days, to organize a defending line to prevent spreading of this virus in China as well as outside its borders. If China had ignored this situation and delayed for several days or more forecasts could be very bad. Foci are revealed and they are under the control, but it doesn’t mean that the danger disappeared, – poisonous metastases of the epidemics can be spread in different directions.
Xinhua Agency reports that according to the Deputy Chairman of Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress Wang Chen as of the 27th of February, China will accelerate adoption of a law on biological safety and review a complex of other laws to improve legislation in the field of the public health care.
He made this statement on the meeting with relevant official executive bodies of legislative authorities responsible for the legislative issues and underlined a necessity of enhancing of the legal protection in the field of providing of public health care. “Laws on protection of the wild nature and quarantine of animals should be reviewed step-by-step. We have to review the laws on prophylactics and treatment of infectious diseases, border sanitarian-quarantine control, accident management,” – stated Wang Chen.
He added that the draft law on biological safety which currently is in the first reading, should be reviewed, amended and entered into force as soon as possible. Wang Chen also underscored a necessity of strict persecution for breaching of a newly adopted resolution of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress on banning of use of wild animals in food. He indicated that the stated ban which was broadly supported by the society has a meaning of key importance for people’s health care. In this relation Van Chen called to more active rising awareness of the society for thorough informing of the population and implementing of healthy and civilized lifestyle of the society.
The Former Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia, ecologist Nino Chkobadze says: “We have no a strategy of biological safety, to be more accurate we have only initial version. After establishing of the Council of Security issues connected with biological safety had been under consideration. But the law on biological safety had not been adopted yet. Work over the draft law had been started before but not completed. Today we follow a protocol on biological safety or a convention of biological safety.
Biological safety in addition to viruses also includes penetration of alien forms of life into the existing ecosystem, foreign and transgenic gens, bacterial pollution of food, affecting of the genetic therapy and engineering and viruses on organs and tissues, contamination of natural resources and others. It is a very complex process. Thus, we consider, that from this viewpoint we should have a more expanded legislation. To manage the current situation with the corona virus we should establish a relevant structure responsible for such situation and risks.
It is not understandable by all people and thus we have signs of panics in the population. In some cases citizens do not know where and when to go, who is responsible for making a statement and mobilization.
Proceeding from the current situation, one should mobilize other authorities in addition to the Ministry of Health Care and subordinated structures. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture must explain which quarantine works must be conducted in the field of supplies of goods, necessities of restriction of supplies of definite products”.
On the 27th of February the self-recognized South Ossetia closed all check-points on the border with Georgia due to the corona virus. Next day Tskhinvali “operatively” expressed fright due to the Tbilisi laboratory “Lugar”.
The Lugar Laboratory located in Tbilisi attracts attention of Russian media outlets and government of this country for a long time. The Laboratory is accused in creating of a biological weapon, spreading of viruses, conducting super-secret experiences on insects and human beings and even in collection of biological materials of Russians…”
Lika Zhorzholiani, for newcaucasus.com