Georgia closes its Azerbaijani cities

Georgia closes its Azerbaijani cities

It seems that in the post-Soviet space Georgia has the most difficult coronavirus situation. The situation in the Central Asian countries, which are not traditionally very open, is uncertain, but, according to these countries' authorities, the situation is under control and nothing really happens.

The situation in Georgia, despite the dedicated work of doctors and the government (yes, the work of the Georgian government is much more efficient than those of the governments of more powerful and developed countries), is getting worse. This is due to several reasons.

1. Georgia is open to foreigners more than other ex-Soviet republics, and its way to Europe is also open - the exchange of "delegations" before the pandemic was announced by WHO was very active.

2. The part of the population is still “traditionally” disorganized and violates quarantine - the authorities had to impose large fines and use violent methods to place violators in special quarantine zones.

3. The stubbornness of the Georgian Orthodox Church, in a state of emergency which not only didn't refuse mass events, but even temporary changes in rituals, implying the use of the same church utensils.

4. The country's multinationality and its citizens' active contacts with relatives in neighboring states.

Actually, the latter circumstance was the reason for the emergency measures taken in two cities of the Kvemo Kartli region - the region where Georgian Azerbaijanis live. Marneuli and Bolnisi have been put under quarantine. Entrances and exits are controlled by army and police units dressed in chemical protection suits.

In order to gain a view of the situation in the region, it is enough to recall or watch some Hollywood blockbuster about some epidemic and law enforcement agencies' actions. However, the actions of the Georgian security forces don't have "Hollywood cruelty". It's tight control prohibiting entry and exit without emergency. Up to the point that several residents of Marneuli told local television channels that "they unsuccessfully trying to get into their homes the second day."

However, one can say that in Marneuli there were all the above-mentioned reasons for the difficult situation in Georgia at once. During Novruz, a woman in her 60s visited relatives in Azerbaijan before traveling to Turkey for business. Having returned from Azerbaijan, according to doctors and police, she had a lot of contacts with local relatives, she participated in Novruz celebrations, with a lot of hugs and kisses between relatives as usual. She fell ill, but local doctors could not determine the nature of the disease. And there were no suspicions, because the patient was silent about her travels, and there was no coronavirus cases in the region. Only when her condition became critical on the third or fourth day they asked for help in Tbilisi. Then a terrible diagnosis was made, and a terrifying truth of the patient's numerous contacts with relatives, neighbors and acquaintances. The only way out was to declare Marneuli and Bolnisi (many guests from this neighboring city arrived in Marneuli to celebrate Novruz) as an emergency zone. With all this, one can only guess that the woman was infected in Turkey and managed to infect relatives not only in Georgia, but also in Azerbaijan, or was infected when she visited her relatives in Azerbaijan. In any case, the Georgian authorities notified the Azerbaijani colleagues about the incident. The patient's circle of contacts includes at least several dozen people. How many of them have infected and could infected others - now it is a task with a geometric progression. In addition, it turned out that she managed to attend a funeral event dedicated to the anniversary of her relative's death, which was attended by at least 200 people - residents of both Marneuli and the surrounding villages.

Sources in Marneuli say that the city’s hospital where the sick woman was treated, the largest in the region, was put on quarantine. As a result, many people were locked up in the hospital - both the medical staff and other patients. This hospital is visited by many people, which means that the whole region is in danger. And now a field hospital has been deployed in Marneuli.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that if in this district center the situation was more or less taken under control, it is difficult to achieve the same result in villages with their own way of life, and a police inspector couldn't stand near each house.

However, another Marneuli interlocutor said that now volunteers took up the matter - small groups of local youth began to visit the villages in the district and convince their residents to comply with quarantine standards.