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Corona epoc-Georgia Malta and Russia

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

After I got an optimistic picture from Taiwan- that coped the best with the "neighborhood virus" of China-here; i corresponded in long mails with my friends in different countries; all of them are recognized tour guides and i got some amazing insights about Georgia; Russia and Malta; here they come:

Tbilisi Georgia-photo by Daria Kholodilina


Daria Kholodilina is the co-author of the guidebook to Georgian wine regions:link and the founder of the company "Trails and Wines"( with her future husband."we had on April, May and June fully booked tours and also in part of September .everything of course was just cancelled"; she explained me and continued "some of the tours are postponed for 2021. we also had to cancel our wedding in coming August…"

Daria Kholodilina-Tbilisi Georgia

besides this frustrating situation ;I don't have any other job, that's why I concentrated on improving my knowledge about Georgian and international wine. soon I will start virtual wine tastings in Tbilisi and some wineries.

what is the overall situation in your country?

Many people are panicking because of job loss.i came from Germany and i put myself under two weeks of quarantine, just in case although i had no symptoms. now two weeks have passed and i am fine but Still I prefer to avoid people

main avenue in Tbilisi-Georgia photo by Daria Kholodilina-

There is no public transportation, but private cars; the shops are closed, very few people at the streets - but quite some cars and delivery scooters. so far the fines are for people who break the quarantine (they came from abroad, or they got infected and they go out or run away). distance is kept almost all the time

turtle lake Tbilisi Georgia- photo by Daria Kholodilina

What kind of curfew you have and the restrictions you must follow?

The curfew is from 9 PM to 6 AM. there are restrictions to enter or leave the following major cities – Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Rustavi (From 15 April, 21:00. Period: 10 days) also tightening the rule on indoor and outdoor mass gathering from 10 to 3 persons (exception are grocery stores, pharmacies), restrictions on public transportation (including the subway). the number of passengers in a single vehicle (including taxis) is limited to three. arrangements of checkpoints for the thermal screening of citizensare taken at the entrances of Tbilisi, Gori, Kutaisi, Batumi, Poti, Rustavi, ugdidi, Telavi and Akhaltsikhe, Vani

her dog-photo by Daria Kholodilina-Tbilisi Georgia

A trip to the supermarket is an adventure now. the cafes, restaurants and some food markets are working with online deliveries, but many small businesses experience huge pressure and I'm not sure how many will survive.there is no center of the disease. there is just one concern about very religious people;who violated the law and joined the Easter service massively. they might be the source of an outbreak. we'll see it probably in two weeks. concerning the numbers of the epidemic we are in a good place so far- 399 diagnosed cases and only 4 people who died, luckily. in general the situation is much better than expected; less infected casses compared to EU and USA

photo by Daria Kholodilina-Tbilisi Georgia

Something more about yourself?

I have the WSET 2 certificate in Wines and my husband ;is a trained trekking guide and specialist in route marking. we organize wine and adventure tours. i have a blog in instagram -darikomogzauri and often i get the requests for my activities from there.

Instagram: @trailsandwines / @darikomogzauri


Mariella Buhagiar Bose is a licensed tourist guide since 1971; approved by the Ministry of tourism of Malta. she works as an independent tour guide.

Where did this crisis found you with your plans?

My first cancellation came on 27 February from a group of South Koreans; who had spent few days in Italy and were coming to visit Malta; on a cruise ship

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

On the first week of March I had a group of Scandinavian travel agents for 3 days and after that every booking I had till the end of April has been cancelled.i had a number of cruise liners already booked, incentive groups, private groups and some journalists/tour operators that were invited to Malta by the MTA . the work for me and all the tour guides was reduced to zero

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

What do you do now?

Actually the days passes quickly.i give myself one job per day;that does not normally get done; for example a bookshelf to clean. finally i am getting myself to give some books away; so i put them outside my door with a sign "free books" and they are picked up by people

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

I found my Spanish notes from years ago; so i spend an hour a day learning Spanish again. i read many books; watch documentaries and sorting out all kinds of papers and throwing away what i do not need. i started out baking; but because i realize i put on more weight i need to exercise more.not far from where I live there is an unbuilt area; by the sea so sometimes i walk my dog there

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

I watch TV for news only if there is a press conference.i watch movies on Netflix and YouTube. i keep in touch with people by WhatsApp (which I do not like very much as I get tired being on the phone after 15 minutes)

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

what is the overall ambiance?

The atmosphere is very calm. pollution is reduced in some areas down by 50 percents. the country is in semi lockdown. for those of us who have not travelled recently; or have not been in contact with anyone who tested positive to Covid-19; we are not under a rule of obligatory quarantine. most of the people choose to stay at home unless they have to go out. people who brake the rules needs to pay a penalty of 3000 Euro

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

I am in quarantine as i am 68 years old. the quarantine is mostly for people over 65 and those that have vulnerable diseases. i just go out to buy groceries or to go the pharmacy and walk my dog. i am quite well except the fact that I do not see my daughter and granddaughter

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

Which is the main industry that suffer the most from this situation?

Our travel industry; has been getting a hard hit. hotels are empty. all the guides in Malta have no work. tourism is at a complete stand still . there have been some visiting tourists; who are now stuck in Malta arriving here just before the ban on all commercial flights. some of them had to go into obligatory quarantine for 14 days

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

Museums; schools ;shops; restaurants and shopping malls and outlets are closed . the airport and ports are closed and only open for humanitarian reasons (food repatriation ). those who can are working from home. the city is empty. The one industry that is still working is the noisy construction industry."WHO" praised Malta for the way we are handling the for april 20 the figures are: 427 cases ; 3 deaths and 118 people who recovered

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

What is the loss do you feel personally?

I personally have no other job and i lost all my income. i am 68 years old and received a small pension which helped. the government introduced a scheme: to provide some monthly payment to those who lost their jobs; it's around 800 euro per month which is over the minimum wage that is 168 euro per week. i am happy as i received lately a confirmation for work with a group coming up in October; which is a positive sign

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

If you wish to contact me-my mail is:

Facebook-Mariella Buhagiar Bose

the photos of Malta were taken by Robert Cuschieri that works for a travel agency are mainly from Maltese capital city, Valletta

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

Russia: Sochi

Zetta Ermakova is the President of Sochi Tour Guides Alliance- Authorized translator & interpreter (English, German, Finnish, Estonian).

What is the situation in the tourism business now in Sochi?

Sochi Tourist Guides Association; was developing some special program for Finnish tourists, including balneology, wild nature tours, handicrafts, cuisine, etc. first meetings were scheduled for April so we have to postpone it at least until summer. all hotels and other places of accommodation of Sochi are closed till July; according to the Governor order

Empty path to the waterfall Sochi Russia-photo by Zetta Ermakova

How it effects you?

I lost my job as a notary translator and as a guide which means I lost my income. the prognosis is not that positive; at least for this summer season; so i revise now my private tours and itinerary and amend then, inserting special benefits for my tourists.i am 65 years old and the official restrictions usually mention this age and elder ones ;as people that should stay at home;and some volunteers will deliver food and all other goods they need.families with monthly income per capita which is lower than 13 000 rubles ( its local income minimum level) can receive about 3000 rubles (approx. 45 usd) for every child

main walking street Sochi Russia-photo by Zetta Ermakova

What are your leisure activities now?

Watching videos, interviews with favorite actors, lectures on architecture and history, knitting, crocheting. also i am reading a lot, playing games with my grandson, he is nearly 5 and lives 100 meters apart ;so he can visit me. i am cooking for the family and doing other things around the hous that i never had enough time for earlier.

what is the overall situation at your country?

The authorities did not take it seriously first, saying its merely a new kind of flu. some people still do not understand the seriousness of the situation, older people are scared. Moscow was the city where the virus burst out first and still rapidly spreading and also in Saint Petersburg.As you know Russia is approaching just recently; the situation that occurred in other countries. we have a kind of " time privilege" to consider the measures and regulations; other countries took to protect their nations. their example is a good lesson to be taught for us.officially quarantine is not announced in Russia. all addresses and speeches of officials sounds mostly like recommendations, not like a strict prohibition as it should be from my point of view. the same can be said about the President's appeal to the nation

empty fanouse restaurant-photo Zetta Ermakova

What are the figures for today-20 April 2020?

The total amount in Russia as for today is: 47 121 sick people ;as recovered are 3446; dead people: 405; tested: 2 053 319. earlier the numbers were about 200-300 people daily, during the last 3 weeks it increased up to more than 4000 new cases per day through the country. 40 people passed away during the last day. in general we don’t believe those numbers.In Sochi there are 64 infected people; no deaths yet. the I2 first cases were brought from Armenia and Switzerland and then later from Moscow. we don’t get any information about respiratory machines in Sochi; which means that we do not have any official information; about how the hospitals are equipped in Sochi. on TV they report mainly about Moscow. lying is the usual policy here. they lie daily on big or small issues ;so many people do not believe the gov

Sochi Russia-photo Zetta Ermakova

How do you stay in touch with your clients?

I have a lot of FB friends that were my tourists; and we are in touch nearly every day. i am in touch with my friends from Canada, Israel, Spain, UK, France, Finland, Nigeria, Turkey, Ukraine and USA. people are really much interested in what's going on in other parts of the world. i suppose the social media is a great tool for people to know the truth and be able to support each other, receive helpful recommendations etc

ethnic Georgian restaurant "Kavkazky aul"-photo by Zetta Ermakova

How is the daily routine?

we are almost in a full blockade. food shops and drugstores are open. small shops near the house are closed, so we have to go to big shops. luckily they are open air vegetable stands. the prices have raised in 20-25% ;because the currency rate has increased the same. we are not restricted to go out of home, but not for visiting public places, like beaches or promenades. there's Rosgvardia (Federal National Guard Troops Service) in the city, they maintain public order.There are no fines yet, but those people who try escape from taking tests or leave hospitals;without the doctor's allowance are brought back by the police.

those who have returned from contagious areas of the world and have not reported to the local medical authorities about it; and continue to contact other people are liable to criminal cases.

from 30-th March they impose in Moscow "Home self-isolation" regime. it means people are allowed to leave their homes only in case of urgent need like: visiting the nearest grid store or food shop ( about 100 meters), visiting a doctor or walking a dog. frankly speaking i am tired from that situationof and i try to avoid any info on that matter

Empty parking near the biggest Shopping mall :Moremall

The photos you took are from?

Empty parking near the biggest Shopping mall :Moremall

Empty interior and verandah of the most popular ethnic Georgian restaurant "Kavkazky aul"

Empty path to the waterfall - most popular walking route near the city

Center Sochi downtown today - main walking street

My mail is:

Facebook: Zetta Ermakova

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

how Taiwan coped with covid 19?-here is the full story


גילי מצא
גילי מצא
Apr 21, 2020

yes indeed we all wants our previous life concerning to travelling Dariko Mogzauri


גילי מצא
גילי מצא
Apr 21, 2020

you described it well as a summary of my article-"we all don't do the same things as before". I found it fascinating to hear it from the best sources. thank you zag.ban


גילי מצא
גילי מצא
Apr 21, 2020

thanks a lot Robert Cuschieri for your nice comment and the great photos you sent me as they are very artistic and mystic


Apr 21, 2020

Amazing, Very good article, Interesting to know how all over we are doing - or not doing - the same: No work, no travel, just wait and wait to the end of this. So sad that the happy and free world we knew just 2-3 months ago we will never be the same.


Dariko Mogzauri
Dariko Mogzauri
Apr 21, 2020

Very informative! I hope that soon this all will be a part of history, though...

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