Tbilisoba cancelled as Georgia announces new COVID-19 restrictions

9 September 2020
Tbilisoba 2016. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Mayor of Tbilisi has announced the cancellation of Tbilisoba, an event marked every first weekend of October, due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia. The government also introduced a number of other restrictions, which include a ban on weddings and funerals.

As of Wednesday, Georgia has 1,773 confirmed cases. Forty-four new cases were confirmed today and 45 yesterday — a new 48-hour record — 5,882 are currently in quarantine. 

From 10 September weddings, funerals, celebrations and other big events, including outdoor events will be banned. 

Natia Mezvrishvili, the head of the government administration, said during a briefing today that gatherings of 200 or more for sporting and cultural events will be banned. Though these restrictions will not apply to election campaign events — participants are asked to follow rules about maintaining a minimum of 2 metres distance between individuals and wearing facemasks. 

The opening of theatres, cinemas and child entertainment centres has been postponed for one month. Cinemas were to open on 15 September and theatres and child centres on 1 October.

It is not planned to postpone the scheduled opening of schools and universities. 

During the same briefing, Amiran Gamkrelidze, the head of the Diseases Control Centre said that despite the spike of COVID-19 cases in Batumi, they do not expect to place the city in lockdown.  

‘The lockdown policy is slowly getting removed from the agendas all over the world’, he said. ‘Nowadays in the entire world, there is the so-called balancing policy to manage this infection — to identify cases rapidly and then locate those patients at medical facilities, or isolate them and manage; and to strengthen economic activities, as it is necessary to create wealth’. 

Hospitals to hotels 

From 9 September, in Tbilisi, Batumi, and Kutaisi, some COVID-19 patients will be placed in hotels, rather than hospitals. Previously, every single person who tested positive for COVID-19 has been treated in hospital. 

Ekaterine Tikaradze, Georgia’s Health Minister, explained that minors and people over 65 will still be automatically hospitalised. Those not falling into the two age brackets, who also have no chronic conditions, display no symptoms, and are not expected to require additional tests or a doctor’s supervision will be eligible for hotel placement. 

Three hotels have been allocated for use by individuals infected with COVID-19.  At the moment, 65% of hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients are already in use. 

Eighteen patients currently staying in Batumi will be transferred to a hotel later today. 


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