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PM Gakharia voices 2 decisions after council meeting

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, March 18
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia introduced new solutions to the media following the Inter-Agency Council meeting. He also voiced the tasks that were distributed to different ministries and agencies and addressed the public regarding the measures needed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

According to his decision, the movement of mini-buses is prohibited from March 18th. In the PM's words, “this is one of the most important hubs for spreading the virus.” The city buses and metro will continue to operate, but in the sake of effective risk management, they will be obliged to disinfect the transport daily.

As the Tbilisi City Hall announced yesterday, the negotiations are underway with Tbilisi Minibus management to ensure that drivers are not left without a minimum income during the non-working period. According to Mayor Kaladze’s statement, municipal transport – Tbilisi metro and buses are disinfected daily and hygiene norms are maximally kept.

Hotels and restaurants, sports and spa centers have been closed due to the coronavirus. The relevant agencies were tasked with overseeing how the government's decisions are implemented. Similar mechanisms will be set up in each ministry, enabling the government to respond adequately to upcoming challenges.

The creation of a mechanism for risk groups of socially vulnerable and retired people to provide the day-to-day services they need on a daily basis was initiated at the meeting as well. The assignment was received by the Ministry of Economy and the Post of Georgia. Gakharia also announced the government's recommendation for the citizens over the age of 70 to be treated in isolation.

According to him, the state still does not see the need to declare a state of emergency since it wouldn’t provide the government with the tools it does not have today. Gakharia said that it’s easy to declare a state of emergency and cut the power, but the question is what will be the cost to the country's economy. “We strive to achieve the best possible results in a balanced way to quickly regain the positions that we are losing,” he explained. However, the PM didn’t exclude that at some point, such a need may arise.

He added that despite the effective work of the council and the government to stop infection, we are moving to the stage of spreading the epidemic, predicting that the number of cases will increase. He assured that the health care system is in good shape to withstand the relevant challenges and respond adequately. However, “everyone should understand that the government's resources are limited.”

In Gakharia’s words, high civic responsibility on the part of each citizen is important to address the global problem. He named human and health as the number one priority. “The second as the economy, the third as the management of supplies in the country and the fourth is order.”

He also expressed readiness to fully assist the citizens of the occupied territories ‘wherever possible,’ adding that the government is restricted to providing assistance to residents of the occupied territories but will do their best to ease the situation.

As of March 17th evening data, there are 34 people infected with COVID-19 in Georgia and 1008 people are isolated.