Opposition React to Lockdown, Georgia’s COVID Handling

The Government of Georgia announced on November 26 a multi-phased plan for putting the eight largest cities of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi, Zugdidi, Poti, Gori and Telavi, as well as the ski resorts of Bakuriani, Gudauri, Mestia and Goderdzi into 2-months lockdown starting from November 28, in a bid to slow a resurgent COVID-19 outbreak. The measures, among others, include halting municipal transportation and nationwide 21:00 – 05:00 curfew.

Opposition politicians criticized the government for their handling of the epidemic, and expressed concern over the implications of the lockdown on the national economy.

Zaal Udumashvili from the United National Movement (UNM) party said “the restrictions are understandable, one may agree or disagree,” slammed the government however for failing to provide “a specific plan for how the country will emerge from this crisis.”

Udumashvili also stated that the continuation of opposition’s protests over alleged election-rigging “will depend on what these regulations allow.” “There may not be a rally after 21:00, but no one has forbidden holding rallies during the day,” the UNM member remarked.

Giga Bokeria, leader of the European Georgia party, underscored that restrictions, without providing substantial relief, are “an additional blow for our citizens and businesses, the price of which we will pay in the future.”

Criticizing the government for failing to prepare the country for the second wave of the pandemic, Bokeria said the government’s passivity comes at expense of “health of the citizens, lives and the economy.”

Lelo for Georgia party leader Badri Japaridze said the restrictions seem “inevitable” as the pandemic has become “uncontrollable” due to the government’s failure in taking timely steps to curb the spread of the virus. Japaridze also called on the authorities to create a new anti-crisis council with opposition representatives included.

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