Corona Updates: Cases Still Rising as Georgia Prepares for Elections

As of October 22, 1595 new cases of coronavirus had been detected in Georgia, bringing the total number of infected people to 22,803, and total active cases to 13,224. The number of recovered increased by 398 to reach 9401. The death toll to date stands at 178.

4408 citizens are in quarantine zones and 3155 are under supervision in hospitals, while 1848 patients are being treated in special “COVID Hotels.”

No More Quarantine for PCR Negative Georgians Flying Home

A new set of rules came into force this week, whereby citizens of Georgia will be placed in self-isolation instead of quarantine if they present negative PCR test results at the border upon their entry to the country.

“This measure applies to citizens of Georgia arriving from any country of the world, not only those which are under the international reciprocation arrangement,” Natia Mezvrishvili, Head of the Government Administration, said.

Management Criticism

Having faced criticism this week for its handling of the pandemic, and amid claims Covid patients are being denied hospital beds or care, Natia Mezvrishvili on Wednesday noted that there may be individual cases when a medical consultation was delayed by 1-2 hours, but these cases are not of a systemic nature.

“21,703 people are in self-isolation today, and family doctors are in touch with each of them. It is understandable that there may be individual cases when a medical consultation was deferred by 1-2 hours, and that people write about such cases on social media. However, these are individual cases and do not have a systemic nature. Therefore, I urge you to refrain from engaging in panic. Doctors ARE in touch with those in self-isolation at home or in COVID Hotels. I urge you to help prevent the spread of such false information. The Government of Georgia has been unprecedentedly transparent from day one. No matter what, we will never withhold the truth from our public, which is why I urge you to rely on what is said from this platform and on official sources of information; on what is posted on; on what is said by epidemiologists; and on what is discussed by the Council Members. This will predominantly facilitate the flow of accurate information and will thereby contribute to the joint fight against the virus,” she stated.

The Elections

The Election Administration is offering all voters stuck in medical facilities or in isolation the chance to participate in the 31 October elections. Open, individual polling stations will be placed in medical institutions and in isolation facilities, while a mobile ballot box will be employed by special groups to ensure a maximum level of health and safety. In particular:

• The Central Election Commission of Georgia (CEC) will establish at least one polling station within the district election commissions in municipalities, and staff special groups in line with specially defined requirements;

• Representatives of the special groups will deliver mobile ballot boxes to voters in medical institutions and quarantine. In addition, voters in self-isolation whose data is recorded in a database may address the EA for permission to vote via a mobile ballot box;

• Each member of the special group will be equipped with disposable coats, face masks, gloves, face shields, and any other sanitary-hygienic equipment deemed necessary;

• Vote counting will not be carried out in quarantine spaces or medical institutions, but separately in specially established polling stations, which will ensure the transparency of the process.

The special polling stations and their voters will not be connected to regular polling stations, and the process will be provided with a higher level of security, including the participation of independent observers.

As of 20 October, 127 polling stations have been set up for hospitalized and self-isolated voters, Ana Mikeladze, CEC spokesperson, said. “It is important for the election administration to ensure that every citizen of Georgia and all parties involved in the elections have the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”

22 October 2020 15:47