The Government of Georgia is to be commended for quickly prioritizing preparedness for the potential importation of COVID-19 into its territory. In close coordination with WHO, the Ministry of the Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia has taken concrete measures to be able to detect, assess, contain and treat the first cases of COVID-19, followed by rigorous tracing procedures of potential contacts and accompanied by regular and transparent public risk communication with a focus on high-risk groups.
In addition, the Government of Georgia is to be commended for the timely provision of information on the first identified cases of coronavirus in the country and is encouraged to continue dissemination of timely, accurate and comprehensive information to the public as this is crucial for ensuring the uptake of protective measures by the public and is a critical confidence-building measure. This is particularly important for the purposes of countering erroneous information, widely exchanged via social media and other means.
Given that COVID-19 is a new disease, it is understandable that its emergence and spread may cause confusion, anxiety and fear. We need to be mindful that these factors can give rise to harmful stereotypes. Stigma can drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination; prevent people from seeking health care immediately and discourage them from adopting healthy behaviours.
We encourage the Government to continue to relay the information in readily understandable form and adapted for linguistic minorities and persons with disabilities, including the blind, the hearing-impaired and those with limited or no ability to read. People in detention should be included in information campaigns, as should prison wardens and other prison personnel.
The UN stands ready to continue supporting the Government of Georgia in responding and containing the spread of the disease. For the latest updates please visit www.who.int where you also find the areas currently most affected globally.
Useful hotlines and links
Governmental Hot Lines
Ministry of Health: 1505 (24/7)
National Centre for Disease Control: 11601 (is redirected to 1505 line during non-operation hours)
WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak website page
WHO daily situation reports
WHO dashboard for regular updates on the virus spread