Having lost one of your best friends to Covid


How is the situation in your city/ country? Is there a 2nd wave yet?
Situation in Georgia is not that pleasent as we wish. Country is already facing third wave.

How did the atmosphere in your country change within the last months?
The atmosphere in Georgia at this time is very tense, both with the political climate and the pandemic. Economy in almost every field is facing big fall. For example, only in August (from 1-31) Georgia lost 1.588 people, including children and pregnant women.

Protest against extending COVID-19 restrictions on January 24, 2021. Scores of Tbilisites took to the streets on Sunday to protest the Government’s decision to extend COVID-related restrictions through March 1, including the ban on municipal transportation, nationwide curfew and the closure of schools, universities, restaurants, hotels, winter resorts etc. “I want school,” the child’s poster says.
(c) Guram Muradov for Civil.ge

How are you and your family?
I’m fine I guess, my family members are also fine. I’ve got vaccinated in the end of the May with the Chinese vaccine, because other vaccines were only for people of age 60+, that’s why at the first chance I’ve got my shot.

What was the biggest challenge for you within the last months?
Last months as much as last year and the half, were very hard. As I mentioned almost every field is facing big fall. Thousands of citizens lost their jobs because of pandemic, especially professions related to tourism are still in the big crisis. Georgia is in the red zone for some countries, which is the reason of falling of tourism. Hotels are closing down, especially small hotels/hostels, casinos, restaurants, shops etc. The biggest challenge is to keep a job and make enough money for living and taxes.

The atmosphere in Georgia at this time is very tense, both with the political climate and the pandemic.


When did you realize how serious the situation is?
After the first lockdown in March, 2020. I work for the online news agency and also as a freelancer for commercial. Freelance work is my main income and when the government announced the lockdown, of course me and lots of my freelancer colleagues, photographers, videographers, makeup artists an so on, lost our contracts. Wedding photographers and videographers are still in the same position, because it’s forbidden to have a big wedding.

Although churches were open in Georgia for the Easter service, large number of Orthodox Christian Georgians were celebrating the biggest religious event in the Orthodox calendar at home by lighting up the candles in the windows. (April 19, 2020) 
(c) Guram Muradov for Civil.ge

How did your government react to the crisis? Which measures/restrictions were taken first?
Well at first, when the pandemic started, because it was new, the whole world was struggling. Our government was also very unprepared for a pandemic so they kind of managed the situation for the first wave, but after that, with lots of political problems between government and opposition sides, situation started to get very ugly. The first reaction was full lockdown, which was the right desicion for that time, but when they realised that they can use it for their benefits, it got permanent face and as I mentioned, almost every field faced huge falling.

Some streets in Tbilisi were sanitised at April 4, 2020 to prevent the spread of the new Coronavirus and ensure the safety of citizens.
(c) Guram Muradov for Civil.ge

Are you satisfied with the measures of your government? What was good/bad?
Of course not. We still don’t have enough beds in hospitals, not enough staff. The government is doing NOTHING for vaccine popularisation. Random people – Influencers, volunteers, activists are doing main job. Georgia got vaccine with huge delay and that was one of the reasons why vaccination started so late, with age restriction. Also the government is not doing any job with fighting with anti-vaccers or anti-vaccination campaigns, which is in it’s full mode in every social media. Not government, not religion are doing nothing.

What would you like to say to your government?

One of Tbilisi’s polling stations for October 31, 2020 parliamentary elections.
(c) Guram Muradov for Civil.ge

Which sentence of a virologist/politician did you memorize the most?
Omg, every day government representatives are talking lots of bullshit, so it’s very hard to choose one.
Every interview they’re giving, is a new opportunity for trolls and bots to make new memes.

The government is doing nothing for vaccine popularisation.

The Virus

Do you know anybody who was infected with COVID-19 or even died?
Unfortunately yes. I know lots of people who were/are infected with Covid, most of them are vaccinated and no one was in need of hospitalization.
In February 2021, I lost one of my bests friends to Covid. She was fighting Covid19 for several months, but got reinfected from her doctor and unfortunately died.

Have you already done a Coronavirus test or have you been in quarantine?
I’ve never got infected and planning to do so in the future.
Always wearing mask, washing my hands at every chance, keeping physical distance, trying to work online as much as I can, avoiding places with lots of people etc.

Are you afraid of getting infected with the Coronavirus?
Yes, because I have a heart condition, no one knows how this virus can affect us. So everyone should be very careful!

In February 2021, I lost one of my best friends to Covid.

The lockdown

How long is/was your lockdown and what was allowed/what wasn´t?
The first lockdown was several months long. It was full lockdown, nothing was working, only food markets and pharmacies. Every office, schools and universities were in online mode. Public transportation, metro and busses were not working, also are not working now. It was forbidden to go outside after 9PM till 6AM for almost a year.

Did you spend the lockdown time with somebody and what did you do during this time?
Fortunately I wasn’t alone, lots of my close friends and family members are living near me, so were meeting like once a week or once in two weeks, other time were chatting or hanging in ZOOM. I learned how to bake, learn how to drive a car, got my driving liscence in the second lockdown was cancelled.

What did you miss the most during the lockdown? What helped you?
I missed my work. I’m always on the move, always in action. I learned how to sit at home, discovered new interesting books, movies. Also learned how to groom dogs because all grooming saloons were closed and my dog really needed a haircut.

During lockdown, I learned how to groom dogs because all grooming saloons were closed and my dog really needed a haircut.


How did your work situation change within the last months (shorter hours, working from home, etc.)
Of course shorter hours. Even fewer than half commercial photoshoots, which of course reflected on my finances.

One year after the June 20-21 events, when scores of Georgians angered by Russian Duma MP Sergei Gavrilov’s presence in the Georgian Parliament hit the streets of Tbilisi to protest Russian occupation, civic activists, ordinary citizens and politicians gathered in front of the Georgian parliament. The protesters raised the responsibility of the ruling party over the developments. Tensions mounted as part of protestors of a large anti-occupation rally tried to break the police cordon and rush into the parliament. 240 people, including 80 police officers and over 30 journalists – among them Guram Muradov – have been injured, as the police dispersed protesters through massive use of tear gas and rubber bullets. Protest rally in front of Georgian parliament with social distancing. June 20, 2020.
(c) Guram Muradov for Civil.ge

How did your social life (relationship/friendships/dating) change due to the Corona crisis?
I managed to save all the relationships I had, strong friendships never end.

What impact has the Corona crisis on your financial situation?

Social distancing: How does your daily life look like at the moment?
I think now I’m used to it. I’m used to wear a facemask almost every time. Well of course I miss meet with friends for coffee after long hard working day, but as I said, we still manage to meet, see each other at our homes and trying not to lose each other.

I´m used to wear a facemask almost every time.


Who are to your opinion the heroes of this crisis?
Of course doctors! The work they’re doing for the last years, is PRICELESS!

What did the crisis show you?
That life is even more shorter than we can imagine.

What will you appreciate more after the crisis?
I miss travelling the most! I miss even crappy food they serv in the plane! So I think I’ll appreciate travelling without restrictions the most.

Which images will you never forget?
Before February it was dead bodies in the black polyester bags all over the world. But after February, I will never forget the last selfie of my dearest friend Sophie, from the clinic.

Which stories/incidents/experiences touched/shattered you the most?
Photos of the doctors who were working 24/7 for months. Bruises on their faces from the facemasks, their tired heroic faces.

I´ll never forget the tired heroic faces of doctors working 24/7 for months.


What are you afraid of right now?
That this will never end…

What gives you hope?
Smart people, who are reading and getting information about vaccine and getting vaccinated, cause for now the vaccine is the only weapon we have to fight this deadly disease.

Are you planning to travel within the next months?
Unfortunately no. Georgia is still in the red zone for some countries and with this financial situation it is very hard to plan long travel, because of restrictions and isolations in other countries.

Would you get yourself vaccinated against COVID-19?
Of course! I already got vaccinated with two shots and I hope to get booster, the third dose also.

What can we all learn from this crisis?
To love and respect each other. To read more and learn how to seperate disinformation and finally do something about it. And also – never read comment sections!
And ALWAYS rely on yourself, not your government! AND GO GET YOUR VACCINE DAMNIT!!!!!!!!

If you could give 2020 a headline, what would it be?
2020 – burn in hell!
The same for 2021.

For now the vaccine is the only weapon we have to fight this deadly disease.