During the last week, Georgia has seen an alarming increase in newly detected coronavirus cases, which led to both health officials and politicians suggesting a re-introduction of certain restrictions.
Amiran Gamkrelidze, Head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), said on Tuesday that Georgia has now entered the ‘Red Zone,’ as the numbers of newly detected cases of coronavirus are increasing daily.
He noted that the NCDC has recommended the Interagency Coordination Council reestablish the obligation to wear a face mask in open spaces once more.
“The population should know that if the situation worsens, then we will make recommendations for stricter restrictions,” Gamkrelidze said, adding that roughly 30-40% of the current coronavirus patients in Georgia have been found to have contracted the Indian strain (Delta), and the virus is spreading rapidly.
The NCDC also recommended the Interagency Coordination Council intensify immunization, as “the country has a variety of available vaccines, all having almost equal protection.”
A government decree came into force on July 19, based on which only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to attend trainings, conferences and seminars, following negative pre-PCR or antigen testing.
Further, camp-type gatherings are prohibited, regardless of their organizational form and venue; and sports tournaments and training sessions for teenagers under the age of 18 are allowed only on the basis of the pre-PCR testing of all participants.
By the decision of the Interagency Coordination Council, changes will be made in the part of the mandatory testing regulation and fully vaccinated persons will no longer be subject to mandatory testing.
In addition, the government decree continues to ban social events such as weddings, funerals, anniversaries, etc., both indoors and outdoors.
It was announced Wednesday that an infant who was infected with the Delta variant of coronavirus had died at the Tsitsishvili Clinic in Tbilisi. The critically infected child was transferred to Tbilisi from the territory of occupied Abkhazia. This is the second case of an infant’s death from coronavirus in Georgia. The first died last week.
The daily test-positivity rate in the country now stands at 7.19 %, while it was 4.77 % in the past 14 days.
Georgia reported 848 coronavirus cases, 1231 recoveries, and 15 deaths on Monday, with 18,194 tests conducted. Georgian capital Tbilisi recorded the highest number of 487 Covid-19 cases, followed by the Adjara region with 94 cases, and the Kakheti region with 64 cases.
On Tuesday, the country recorded 2616 coronavirus cases, 880 recoveries, and 26 deaths, as a result of 36,375 tests conducted in 24 hours. Tbilisi recorded 1557 Covid-19 cases, followed by the Adjara region with 205 cases, and the Imereti region with 191.
On Wednesday, the country recorded 2415 coronavirus cases, 943 recoveries, and 26 deaths, with 37,627 tests conducted. Capital Tbilisi recorded the highest number of 1391 Covid-19 cases, followed by the Adjara region with 202 cases and the Kvemo Kartli region with 172 cases.
On Thursday, Georgia reported 2261 coronavirus cases, 1410 recoveries, and 18 deaths.
Georgia’s total case tally since February 2020 has reached 395,621, among them, 369,483 people recovered and 5636 died.
The Situation Abroad
The epidemiological situation is severe in neighboring Russia, from where many tourists are entering Georgia during the summer. The total number of people infected with coronavirus in Russia has already exceeded 6 million. Statistics published on the platform Worldometer show that Russia ranks 4th worldwide following the United States, India and Brazil in terms of high numbers of Covid-infected patients.
The same applies to Turkey, where there are currently 96,043 infected patients, and the country counts no less than 7000 COVID cases on a daily basis.
Further afield are countries that have been living under continuous lockdowns for months, which has been noted as being both stressful and dangerous for the mental health of the local populations.
Anger is growing in Australia as 13 million people, about half the population, endure fresh lockdowns to quash Covid outbreaks, the BBC reports. Reportedly, a third state went into lockdown on Tuesday, while stay-at-home orders are now in place in South Australia, Victoria and parts of New South Wales.
“Many people have expressed frustration at being back in highly policed lockdowns 18 months into the pandemic, while re-openings in the UK and the US have put pressure on the Australian government,” reported the BBC.
The US may soon abolish travel restrictions with Europe. US President Joe Biden has raised European citizens’ hopes that the ban imposed on travel from Europe will soon be lifted.
Biden’s comments came during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House, when he was asked when the US travel ban might end, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“We’re in the process of (considering) how soon we can lift the ban… and I will be able to answer that question within the next few days,” Biden pointed out.
The highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus now accounts for 83% of all sequenced cases in the US, a top federal health official said on Tuesday, adding that Covid fatalities had risen by nearly 48% over the past week to an average of 239 a day.
With less than half of the US population fully vaccinated, infection rates in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are among the highest, where vaccination rates are the lowest.
In England, almost all Covid restrictions were lifted Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants Britons to “judge for themselves” whether to wear a face covering, dance at a nightclub or skip a big gathering.
“The shift comes even as caseloads rise rapidly: the UK is recording close to 50,000 daily cases, more than reported in Brazil, India, Indonesia or South Africa. The government justifies its actions by pointing to hospitalization rates and deaths which are way below what they were in earlier waves of the pandemic,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
In France, a new Covid health pass has come into effect amid a rapid increase of new infections. From Wednesday, people need proof of vaccination, a negative test, or recent recovery from Covid to enter most museums and cinemas. Later, lawmakers will debate whether to extend its use in August for entry to cafes, restaurants and shopping malls. The move comes the day after Health Minister Olivier Véran announced 18,000 new infections in just 24 hours.
By Team GT