UNICEF Georgia COVID-19 Situation Report #10 (29 May 2020)

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• UNICEF launched a remote health service to ensure continued access to antenatal care which has reached 2,529 pregnant women in the districts which are still under strict quarantine, as well as in Tbilisi.

• The COVID-19 hotline “111” continues to provide assistance to children and their families, supporting 471 cases to date, of which 229 have received assistance and were closed accordingly.

• The UNICEF Representative, Deputy State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Human Rights and Gender Equality Issues, and local authorities of the Gori municipality delivered essential hygiene and food supplies to 200 vulnerable families in the villages of Tsitelubani and Nikozi.

• UNICEF signed with the Parliament and the State Care Agency a second Memorandum of Cooperation, adding to the COVID-19 hotline “111” assistance to children, young people and their families for cases of addiction to gambling and drug abuse, which have increased due to the pandemic.

• As part of UNICEF’s campaign to promote the Core Values, the Representative delivered a session to the students of Kant’s Academy on “Living the Values while Making the Change”, which was live-streamed on Facebook.

• Guidelines for religious leaders on the prevention of violence against children were shared with the Armenian Apostolic Church and further distributed to priests in Tbilisi, Javakheti and Adjara, as well as educational centres.

• UNICEF launched bi-weekly episodes of bedtime story readings in the Abkhazia region to be shared on Instagram and Facebook.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

On 26 February 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Georgia. In the following days, several more cases emerged, which prompted the Government to institute the first phase of restrictions on land and air movement and closure of schools, effective 2 March. The Government mobilized hospitals for confirmed cases of COVID19, as well as quarantine spaces for suspected cases in different regions of Georgia. Despite the early actions of the Government, the number of confirmed and suspected cases continued to grow, triggering the Government to declare a state of emergency on 21 March – closing all borders and airports, restricting movement inside the country, banning mass gatherings and maintaining closure of all schools, kindergartens, and universities. Community spread was detected, spurring the Government to introduce a curfew, halt movement of public transport, and introduce checkpoints on city crossings administered by police and military units. The State of Emergency was lifted on 23 May, movement within and between cities is now permitted and public transport resumed as of 29 May, however, several restrictions remain in place.

The first case of COVID-19 was identified in Abkhazia, Georgia, on 30 March. To date, 28 cases of COVID-19 have been identified, 15 people have recovered, and one death was recorded. A state of emergency was put in place in Abkhazia from 28 March and it was lifted as of 21 April. However, restrictions on movement remain in place, and the Administrative Border Line and the border with Russia remain closed.