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Government of Georgia Lifts Green Passport Requirement

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
National Center for Disease Control has reported 24,201 new cases of coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours. Among them was the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili, who was confirmed with the ‘Omicron’ strain of the coronavirus within the framework of planned testing. It was reported that PM is fully vaccinated, is feeling well, and continues to work remotely.

In the last 24 hours, 10,732 have recovered and 36 people have died. As for the positive rate, as of January 31, the daily rate of positive cases is 28.41%, for the last 14 days - 21.96% and for 7 days - 24.96%.

Meanwhile, the government made a decision to cancel the obligation of requiring a ‘green passport’, which was enforced from December 1.

As for traveling, all accounting systems remain in place and those who need a 'green passport' to travel abroad will still be able to use this system.

Chief of Operations at the Interagency Coordination Council Giorgi Ghibradze explained the council, decided to cancel the obligation of presenting the green pass due to the less severity of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, citing the “fully manageable” situation with confirmed virus cases.

According to the Deputy Minister of Health Tamar Gabunia, the abolition of the ‘green passport’ is related to the peculiarities of the ‘Omicron’ strain. Gabunia explains that in the face of a high risk of re-infection, the ‘green passport’ will no longer be as important as it used to be, so the government will abolish its mandatory requirement.

“It does not guarantee that a person will be safe when they enter any business environment as it was with Green Passports. As for the vaccination, it is not complete protection against infection, it protects from hospitalization and complications. Thus, the most powerful factor here comes out daily PCR-testing, which is practically impossible.” Gabunia explained.

She also noted almost 35% of beds prepared for virus contingency in hospitals across the country are still available, adding the number of patients in resuscitation care is decreasing.

According to Deputy Minister, the requirements for ‘green passports’ have already been changed by many countries after the appearance of the ‘Omicron’ strain. However, given the changing epidemiological situation in the future, Gabunia does not rule out that the decision on the ‘green passport’ may change.

She also informed that education in schools will not be transferred to full distance mode and the existing, hybrid format will be maintained, meaning that online schooling will be optional.

Recall that a total of 1,754 cases of the Omicron variant has been confirmed in the country as of February 1. Overall, 1,221,340 people have been fully vaccinated in Georgia amounting to 42.5% of the country’s adult population.

According to Amiran Gamkrelidze, Director of the National Center for Diseases, 95% of the cases are already Omicron strains, adding that out of the laboratory-confirmed cases, several fatal cases were reported.

“All indicators of epidemiology, such as positivity, incidence, reproduction index, have increased, but so far the number of severe cases in clinics and the load on both intensive care and resuscitation, as well as in the hospital sector is not increasing. The main workload is on the laboratory sector,” he said.

Tbilisi Infectious Diseases Hospital, Tengiz Tsertsvadze informed that Georgia will be one of the first to receive anti-coronavirus tablets, since “we have been lobbying for this medicine for a long time and contract has already been signed.”

“If used in patients staying at home, it will be distributed free of charge, but it requires logistics. The U.S. announced that this tablet reduces aggravation and mortality by 87%. When we have this tablet formula and plus Remedisivir, which we still have, there is great hope that both severe cases and deaths will be drastically reduced,” Tsertsvadze said.