Interviews and press conferences

“There are hopes of stabilization” - PM refers to COVID-19 situation


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After today’s regular meeting of the Commandant’s Office, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a news briefing with Minister of Emergency Situations Felix Tsolakyan and reanimator Arsen Manukyan, who left his job in Germany and joined Yerevan in the fight against coronavirus.

The Prime Minister noted that the situation with the coronavirus epidemic remains tense, but there are hopes for some stabilization.

“The epidemiological situation remains tense in Armenia. However, there are very weak hopes of stabilization, and this calls for greater vigilance,” Nikol Pashinyan said. The Prime Minister once again called on citizens to observe the applicable restrictions and the anti-epidemic rules established by the Ministry of Healthcare by wearing masks, gloves, and abiding by social distancing rules.

The Premier urged families with mourning ceremonies to follow the anti-epidemic rules during the state of emergency. “We consider it very important to perform mourning functions in accordance with the rules set by the Commandant’s Office. I urge all newly-weds and bereaved families to cooperate with local governments and the police,” he said.

In turn, Minister of Emergency Situations Felix Tsolakyan advised that the 911 Service has so far responded to 2,264 COVID-19-associated calls, 244 citizens have received relevant information, 983 have been provided with medical consulting, and 987 have received psychological support.

The Minister further said that 15 employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations are infected with coronavirus, 82 remain in self-isolation, while 20 have recovered from COVID-19. “Unfortunately, some Ministry employees were infected through their relatives. Over the past couple of months, 35 employees have contracted the virus (20 of them have recovered and returned to work and 15 are still under treatment). There are 82 employees in self-isolation,” the minister said, noting that in any case all citizens can call 911, if they need support or assistance.

Arsen Manukyan, a reanimator who returned to Armenia from Germany to join the fight against coronavirus, asked citizens to help him attend his son’s first birthday in Germany on July 18. Manukyan noted that he cannot do so unless the epidemic is curbed through nationwide observance of anti-epidemic rules.

“In late May, I read a notice issued by the Minister of Healthcare stating that specialists were needed, I realized that I had already made a decision in my subconscious. I discussed it with my wife and found out that either she was in favor, ready to stay alone at home for an indefinite period of time working and taking care of my 10-month-old son. I bought an air ticket to Yerevan without a return ticket, and the next morning I joined the St. Gregory the Illuminator Medical Center’s team. On July 18, my son, Leon, will be one year old, and I hope that by then we will have such a slow pace of epidemic that I will be able to return to my family and attend my son’s first birthday. Please help me in this matter,” Arsen Manukyan said, noting that the staff of St. Gregory the Illuminator Medical Center is actually fighting day and night with honor and great professionalism against death.

The Prime Minister thanked Arsen Manukyan for his noble decision, as well as his family for accepting the decision. “I would like to once again thank all medical workers for their selfless efforts. Yesterday I visited Nork Infectious Disease Hospital and Surb Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center. I saw what heroic work our doctors were doing. I could see a feeling of deep gratitude in the eyes of citizens and patients. I can say that these days a family atmosphere has been shaped in the fight against coronavirus in our medical institutions. Such an atmosphere should be formed throughout Armenia, and it should be expressed as follows: Each of us must do what we are supposed to. Each of us can do a lot of important things by adhering to the prescribed rules – wearing masks, disinfecting hands and by observing the rules of social distancing,” the Prime Minister said.

Answering a journalist’s question, Nikol Pashinyan noted that the Government is likely to extend the state of emergency. “There is a high probability that the state of emergency may be prolonged, and I think the state of emergency will be extended,” the Premier said.

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