23 July 2020
Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Georgia office reported that the country applied a full moratorium on new immigration detention orders during the state of emergency that lasted two months (21 March to 22 May) due to Covid-19. IOM Georgia stated that they were aware of an Indian national being released from immigration detention as there was no prospect of returning him any time soon due to the restrictions on international mobility. imposed by the Georgian government. However, no particular measures are being taken to prevent the spread of infection and ensure the appropriate care of persons released from detention.
Additionally, IOM Georgia indicated that no migrants accommodated in the Temporary Accommodation Centre of the Migration Department had been tested for Covid-19 and that no regular testing was ongoing. Upon admission, migrants usually undergo a general medical examination, temperature check, and are asked if they suffer from any of Covid-19 common symptoms. During their stay, the Centre’s medical staff observe their overall health conditions. If a migrant has or develops any Covid-19 symptoms after the initial medical check by a doctor, they will be transported to a relevant medical facility, tested, and, if needed, will receive treatment outside the detention centre.
Forced returns have been temporarily suspended according to IOM Georgia. The organisation also reported that from the start of the pandemic, the government of Georgia imposed restrictions on all border crossings and that regular passenger movement remains suspended. Thermal screening upon arrival and mandatory 14 day quarantine or self-isolation procedures were put in place for all those entering Georgia. In order for Georgian nationals stranded abroad to return to Georgia during the crisis, the government organised evacuation charter flights from various countries.
The government has announced that it will open the country’s borders with only 5 countries (Germany, France, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) and that regular flights to and from those countries will be available from August onwards. In addition, the government decreed that any non-citizen who was legally residing in Georgia on 14 March and who since has not been able, for objective reasons, to leave the country, will be considered a legal resident until flight restrictions are lifted.
- International Organisation for Migration, Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, 22 July 2020.
- Georgian Servicemen Inspects Cars and People at an Entrance to the Town of Marneuli, some 40 km from the capital of Tbilisi, on 23 March, (Zurab Kurtsikidze, EFE, "Georgia’s furious fight against COVID-19," Euractiv, 24 March 2020, https://www.euractiv.com/section/eastern-europe/news/georgias-furious-fight-against-covid-19/)