TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government is not going to declare a lockdown ahead of the upcoming elections, despite a rapidly deteriorating situation in tackling the spread of the coronavirus.
Many see the government’s avoidance of new unpopular restrictions in light of the critically important local elections in fall. Imposing a new lockdown now would not play well with the electorate, while the GD government is under pressure to gain at least 43% of the vote.
A failure to do that would trigger new elections for parliament, following an agreement mediated by European Council President Charles Michel earlier this year as a compromise ending months of political gridlock.
The coronavirus situation has deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks, after the government lifted restrictions, including a curfew. Figures published July 20 and comprising data from the preceding 24 hours show that there were 2,616 new confirmed Covid-19 cases and that 26 people died.
Meanwhile, PM Irakli Gharibashvili says that another lockdown will have disastrous consequences for the economy.
“Our country will not be able to withstand a lockdown […] People will lose their jobs, an unbearable situation will be created. I do not want this to happen. Additionally, the government will need to take on additional debt, it will put a burden on our country, the citizens in general, the situation will be complicated,” Gharibashvili said at a government meeting on Tuesday.
Epidemiologists attribute the worsening situation to people flouting the official recommendations, especially in connection with feasts typical of Georgian culture, such as weddings and funeral meals called Kelekhi.
“Our loved ones, relatives and friends are dying. Our weddings and Kelekhi are like [human] sacrifices,” Paata Imnadze, vice-president of the National Center for Disease Control and one of the key figures responsible for pandemic management in the country, said pathetically on Tuesday.