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The News in Brief

Thursday, February 25
Prepared by Liza Norwich-Gerwik

‘Pfizer’ vaccine supply postponed to arrive at the end of March, says Gamkrelidze

Director of the National Center for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze spoke at today's briefing about the reasons for the delay in the introduction of the Pfizer vaccine which is now to arrive at the end of March. According to him, Georgia had confirmation from the Covax-platform and the WHO that the vaccine would be introduced in the country at the end of February. However, due to not fulfilling the EU's recommendations, the introduction of Pfizer doses in Georgia has been postponed.

“Pfizer is one of the largest manufacturers today and wants to meet its standards in the EU, which is why there is a problem in the supply of the 18 countries that we had to supply from the Covax platform. Moved to the end of March,” Gamkrelidze said.

According to Gamkrelidze, the government is working on getting vaccinations for Astrazeneca. Gamkrelidze stated that "several hundred thousand doses should arrive if we are not betrayed."

As the director of the National Center for Disease Control noted, the country is doing its best to start vaccination in March.

“We really want to vaccinate at least 200 thousand people twice by the end of May and then, starting from June, the so-called extended vaccination campaign,” Gamkrelidze said.

TI Head Office: Arrest of Nika Melia will only aggravate political crisis

Transparency International's Berlin Headquarters has issued a statement on the current events in Georgia.

Transparency International (TI) believes that the decision to invade the office of the United National Movement and arrest the party leader Nika Melia will only aggravate the current political crisis in the country.

"Recent events in Georgia, which have long been considered a positive example among post-Soviet states, are another manifestation of the extremely high degree of concentration of power and the disturbing trend towards state seizures. The erosion of the rule of law and the independence of institutions, as well as the ongoing attacks on active civil society groups, are causing a significant setback in terms of democracy.

Of particular concern is the lack of an independent judiciary and the influence of the ruling party over law enforcement agencies being used as a weapon against political opponents.

"It is unfortunate that in the country once known for its effective anti-corruption reforms, impunity is increasingly settling into the norm in cases of high levels of corruption. We call on the Georgian authorities to engage in a political dialogue to protect the country's democratic future and to create an environment in which real anti-corruption reforms can be implemented," the statement said.

Opposition party leader Nika Melia was detained by police at the United National Movement office on February 23 at around 10 am. His arrest has already provoked strong reactions from the international community.

The Tbilisi City Court ordered the Ministry of Internal Affairs to detain Nika Melia on February 17.

PACE: Police raid on UNM office and Melia's arrest deepen political crisis

Titus Corlatten and Claude Kern, Co -Rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Monitoring Group on Georgia, expressed concern over the current developments in Georgia .

"It is true that no one should be above the law, but the police raid on the UNM headquarters and the arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia have led to an unnecessary escalation of tensions between the opposition and the ruling majority and deepened the political crisis in the country," say the co-rapporteurs.

"Georgia's democratic development needs restraint, dialogue and compromise, not escalation and confrontation," noted Korlatenma and Kearns.

The co-rapporteurs call on all political forces to refrain from actions that could lead to further escalation of tensions and return to the negotiating table to find a political solution to the current crisis that is mutually acceptable.

Curfew has a great importance against pandemic and will not be seized yet, Turnava says

"At this point we reserve that, we'll see in the future," the Minister of Economy Natia Turnava answered Rustavi 2's question about whether the curfew will be lifted. Turnava claims that limiting night hours is "one of the most effective ways" to curb mobility.

"Since the pandemic has not disappeared anywhere, because we do not know how adequately these openings will be perceived, whether the epidemic will worsen, it would not be right and it would be irresponsible not to leave effective leverage to the authorities to quickly rectify the situation. These openings led to a deterioration of the epidemic.

One of the most effective ways to get rid of mobility, which has brought the current improved situation since November 28, is to limit the night hours outside, whether we like it or not.

"I also see that this is an inconvenience for each of us, but believe me, it has been proven and tested that one of the levers that gives us the opportunity to maintain a normal situation and run a business is to limit night mobility," Natia Turnava said.

From November 28, the curfew in Georgia has been in effect from 21:00 to 05:00. Until then, for three weeks, night-time travel restrictions used to begin at 10 p.m.

A few weeks ago, NCDC Deputy Director Paata Imnadze said that the curfew would be lifted "probably at the very end." He did not expect the night-time restrictions to continue in April, but said it all depended on the situation in the country.