Georgia will reopen to tourists in July: Prime minister

AFP , Thursday 7 May 2020

A member of the Georgia National Guard works to clean and disinfect hallways and common areas at Provident Village assisted living and memory care home, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Smyrna aP

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia on Thursday announced plans to ease anti-virus measures in Georgia and said the country will reopen to foreign tourists in July.

Georgia in March has declared a state of emergency and imposed a quarantine which is due to remain in place until May 22.

"As of July 1, Georgia will be ready to start hosting foreign tourists," Gakharia told a televised cabinet meeting.

"Domestic tourism services will resume in mid-June," he added.

Addressing the cabinet, Gakharia also announced plans to gradually relax restrictions on economic activity beginning May 11.

The coronavirus pandemic has hammered Georgia's tourism sector, one of the main drivers of the Black Sea nation's economy.

The ex-Soviet nation of some 3.7 million has emerged as a popular tourist destination in recent years and in 2019 hosted around nine million visitors, up from 4.7 million in 2012.

Georgia has so far reported 615 coronavirus cases and nine deaths -- one of the lowest rates in Europe.

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