The epidemiological situation continues to worry the country, with no particular downturn in the number of new cases or deaths in the past few weeks. Yet, against this background, the vaccination rate remains slow, with around just 1000 jabs being given each day, seeing the majority of the population still skeptical towards the vaccines. In response to the situation, health officials are this week warning that discussions may soon begin to introduce mandatory vaccination to accelerate the process, although politicians staunchly deny this possibility.
At this stage, only 32.4% of the adult population in Georgia is fully vaccinated.
“The mandatory vaccination issue is to be solved in November,” National Center for Disease Control Head Amiran Gamkrelidze claimed, pointing to the fact that the countrywide vaccination campaign should have been “stronger and more aggressive” from the start.
“Rural residents, as well as people of different professions, tell us they will get vaccinated if it is mandatory, so I think this issue should be solved in November, seeing compulsory vaccination for certain groups and indirect obligation for others, with restrictions for participating in various events.”
State authorities have a different position regarding mandatory vaccination.
“I want to say unequivocally, that I, as the Chairman of the Coordination Council and the Prime Minister, will not allow compulsory vaccination,” Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated this week.
“We should not force citizens: we should convince them that vaccination is the only solution to fight this pandemic,” he told reporters.
Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze also voiced her belief that “introducing mandatory vaccination is not necessary at this stage.”
“It is important to intensify the information campaign at all levels about why vaccination is important, and to refrain from any compulsory measures as much as possible. This is the position of the Ministry of Health. We do not see any basis for coercion at this stage. It is important to investigate each reason why a citizen refuses to get vaccinated, and to explain to them why they should,” the Minister said.
Georgia recorded 4762 coronavirus cases, 3953 recoveries, and 43 deaths on Tuesday. Tbilisi again recorded the highest number of 1523 Covid-19 cases, followed by the Imereti region with 933 cases, and the Kakheti region with 658 cases.
The country reported 4337 coronavirus cases, 3137 recoveries, and 42 deaths on Wednesday. Tbilisi recorded 1412 new cases, followed by the Imereti region with 873 cases and Kakheti with 614 cases.
On Thursday, the country recorded 4009 new cases of coronavirus, 5177 recoveries and 45 deaths.
Georgian capital Tbilisi recorded the highest number of 1502 new cases within 24 hours, followed by the Imereti region with 732 cases, and the Kakheti region with 523.
The daily test-positivity rate now stands at 8.69 %, while it was 8.97 % in the past 14 days.
Georgia’s total case tally since February 2020 reached 707,290, among which 647, 878 people recovered and 9918 died.
The Cases Worldwide The EU
Regarding the epidemiological situation in the rest of the world, the UN health agency says Europe stood out as the only major region worldwide to report almost double the number in both new coronavirus cases and deaths over the last week.
The World Health Organization said that cases in the 53-country European region recorded an 18% increase in Covid-19 cases last week. In WHO’s weekly epidemiological report on the pandemic, Europe also saw a 14% increase in deaths. That amounted to more than 1.6 million new cases and over 21,000 deaths.
The WHO said on Wednesday that several factors are responsible for the increased spread of coronavirus in Europe, including low vaccination rates in some countries in Eastern Europe.
Countries including Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Georgia had some of the highest rates of infection per 100,000 people in the last week, WHO reports.
The United States recorded nearly 513,000 new Covid-19 cases this week, though that was a 12% drop from the previous week, and over 11,600 deaths, which was about the same number as the week prior, the Associated Press reported.
The UK & Russia
This week, Britain had over 330,000 new cases, while Russia recorded nearly a quarter million. While Russia will go into a week-long paid holiday from October 30 to November 7 to curb the spread of the virus, as yet, the British government is not planning to bring back any restrictions.