Georgia bans passenger traffic on domestic railway over coronavirus

Georgian servicemen stand guard at a check point in Marneuli

TBILISI (Reuters) - Georgia banned passenger traffic on its domestic railway on Monday to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Government spokesman Irakli Chikovani said the ban would be in force until a state of emergency ends on April 21.

The country of 3.7 million in the South Caucasus has reported 54 cases of the coronavirus, with no deaths. Eight patients have recovered from the virus.

Georgia has also locked down the two southern regions of Marneuli and Bolnisi bordering Azerbaijan after a woman was diagnosed with the COVID-19 respiratory illness that can be caused by the coronavirus attended a wake.

Georgia declared a one-month state of emergency on Saturday, banning gatherings of more than 10 people.

The former Soviet republic has also closed its borders, imposed a ban on all foreign citizens entering the country and halted air traffic with other countries.

It has also shut all educational institutions, closed all shops except grocery stores, pharmacies and petrol stations, and closed winter resorts, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and gyms.

Neighbouring Armenia expanded a list of countries on Monday whose citizens are barred from entering the country. Armenia has reported 194 cases of coronavirus, the highest number in the South Caucasus region.




(Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Timothy Heritage)