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First novel coronavirus case confirmed in Georgia

The country's authorities suspended flights with Iran and imposed restrictions on the land border for two weeks, the press service of the government’s administration said

TBILISI, February 27. /TASS/. On February 26, doctors confirmed that a Georgian national had contracted the novel coronavirus, the country’s Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze told an emergency briefing on Wednesday.

"A Georgian national, who had arrived in the country from Iran via Azerbaijan, has been diagnosed with the virus. The patient has been taken to an infectious diseases hospital [in Tbilisi]," Tikaradze said. A test carried out by the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research confirmed that he had contracted the novel coronavirus, the minister noted.

The health minister stressed that there were no reasons to panic since the patient was placed in an isolated ward at the hospital, and there were minimum chances that the virus would spread from the medical facility. She assured that the country’s authorities were able to defeat the virus.

Director of Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control and Public Health Amiran Gamkrelidze said the man infected with the novel coronavirus had been hospitalized directly from the Georgian-Azerbaijani border. All people who had contacted him were quarantined in Azerbaijan.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has announced a decision to suspend flights with Iran and impose restrictions on the land border for two weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak, the press service of the government’s administration said.

A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 11 million, in late December. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple foci.

Cases of the new coronavirus have also been reported in 38 other countries, including Russia. According to the latest update, the number of confirmed cases of the disease has exceeded 81,400, with 2,771 people killed by this coronavirus. More than 30,300 have recovered.