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Georgia PM tests positive as virus cases spike

georgia pm tests positive as virus cases spike

Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili attends a news conference after a EU-Georgia association council in Brussels, Belgium, March 16, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said Tuesday he tested positive for coronavirus amid a fresh spike in cases in the Caucasus nation despite the start of a vaccine rollout.

“I am feeling well,” Garibashvili, 38, said on Facebook. “I am in self-isolation and continuing to work remotely.”

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On Tuesday, Georgia registered 897 new coronavirus cases — three times the average number of daily infections recorded over the past months.

Overall, the Black Sea nation of some four million people has registered more than 275,000 coronavirus cases and 3,832 deaths, the health ministry said.

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In mid-March, Georgia began a national vaccination campaign by inoculating medical workers with AstraZeneca’s jab.

In addition to some 43,000 doses of AstraZeneca provided through the Covax vaccine-sharing programme, Georgia also received enough doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine to inoculate some 14,000 people.

More than 11,600 people have been vaccinated so far, director of Georgia’s National Centre for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze, told journalists on Monday.

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He said the rollout “needs to be accelerated”.

The authorities in Georgia have so far ruled out any further anti-virus curbs.

Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia said on Monday there was “no need at this point” for further anti-pandemic restrictions.

In May last year, Georgia lifted its coronavirus lockdown and allowed shops to reopen, but a night-time curfew has remained in place.

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