Gov't Discusses Vaccination Action Plan, Gradual Lifting of Restrictions

The vaccination action plan, the country's epidemiological situation, and the gradual lifting of restrictions were discussed at today's meeting of the Interagency Coordination Council led by Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, at the Government Administration.

The council discussed in detail the plan for vaccination coverage and target groups to be vaccinated first. The plan also encompasses logistics and operational issues.

The meeting assessed steps taken for planned importing vaccines to Georgia. The special COVID-vaccination commission, established on the Prime Minister's instructions, continues intensive work on both ensuring the vaccine's timely delivery and streamlining the country's relevant infrastructure. Notably, alongside the COVAX platform's confirmed readiness to supply Georgia's medical personnel with the initial batch of vaccines, active negotiations continue with several manufacturers. The council reiterated that a given vaccine's prequalification by the World Health Organization and international recognition is the key precondition for its import into the country.

The Interagency Coordination Council emphasized that, thanks to the enforced restriction, the numbers of infection cases have stabilized and the last seven day's average statistics are at 8.3%, though is "not a reason to be content," and social distancing and facemasks remain the key preventive measures to curb infection rates. As Head of the National Center for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze, pointed out at the meeting, Georgia's mask use stands at 75% and, as the Institute for Health Metrics estimate, a 95% mask use rate will reduce daily infection cases within a range between 10 and 77. The council also discussed the global situation of the virus spread, noting that it remains dire worldwide, including in Europe, and several countries have decided to extend or step up restrictions.

In light of global trends and the overall epidemiological situation, the Coordination Council's meeting underlined the need gradually to lift the presently enforced restrictions in Georgia, pointing out that maximally cautious steps must be taken and the lifting of restrictions must be based on the strict monitoring of the epidemiological situation, in order to prevent infection rates from spiking after the stabilization achieved so far. On the Prime Minister's instructions, a plan for gradually lifting restrictions will be developed and presented to the public in the near future.

In addition, on the instructions of the Head of Government, intensive cooperation with the public sector continues for businesses to secure high standards of COVID safety at the restriction lifting stage, in line with safety mechanisms and additional components developed.

In addition, relevant agencies are actively controlling the enforcement of applicable nationwide restrictions. As a result of the monitoring activities carried out by law enforcement, 1,107 cases of violations were identified in the past 24 hours. Police have fined 121 individuals for breaching article 42(10) of the Code of Administrative Offenses, including citizens violating the 9 PM-5 AM curfew. Also, 986 individuals were fined in the past 24 hours for not wearing facemasks.

Three entities have been fined for activities prohibited by the Georgian Government's Decree #322, including for organizing a mass social gathering. Besides sanctions prescribed by the Code of Administrative Offenses, the operations of said entities have been suspended.

Since the first coronavirus case identified in Georgia, a total of 247,915 infections have been identified in the country, of which 234,636 have recovered and 2,958 have died.

Presently, 460 and 634 persons are respectively quarantined and in clinical hotels, and 3,670 citizens are hospitalized under medical supervision.

18 January 2021 17:30