PM: “The best scenario for overcoming the epidemic is to increase public discipline by the logic of social solidarity”
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Following today’s regular meeting of the Commandant’s Office, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a news briefing with Narine Sargsyants, Advisor on Infectious Diseases at the Ministry of Healthcare, Deputy Director of the Armenian AIDS Prevention Center, and Head of the French medical mission, Head of the Intensive Care Unit of Nord Medical Center in Marseilles Laurent Papazian.
The Prime Minister noted that even superficial surveys of social networks demonstrate that despite the call to launch an anti-epidemic movement, many of our compatriots are more pro-epidemic as they attend summer parties and mass pilgrimages without complying with the social distancing requirement. “I am not saying all this to blame anyone, but I just need to emphasize that figures can witness that we all are showing a contemptuous attitude towards the safety rules. As the situation has reached such an alarming scale in Armenia, I think that all of us need to restart our anti-epidemic behavior, otherwise we will not be able to overcome this situation,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
The Premier once again called on all state agencies, organizations operating in Armenia and the RA Police to observe the anti-epidemic rules. “The authorities must take individual responsibility, the presence of people without masks and any breach of the social distancing requirement must be ruled out. Not only should there be markings everywhere, but specific officials should be involved in enforcing the rules. All organizations operating in Armenia must take responsibility not only for maintaining their queues in their area but also in the surrounding areas. The police must first show high discipline in adhering to safety standards. All of this is important to show our collective faith that we can curb the crisis. After all, overcoming this crisis depends on our collective effort, our collective will, and in this regard, the activities of state bodies must continue with a change in the individual behavior of citizens.”
N. Pashinyan reminded that the coronavirus has already killed 433 people in Armenia, and each of us should realize that by ignoring the safety rules, we condemn others to death. “It is important for each of us to abide by the prescribed anti-epidemic rules. By ignoring the safety rules, we condemn others to death: we may not even go to the hospital, but condemn someone else to death. The scale of the disease makes me state that we have not all done something wrong, and we need a restart and strict discipline. We must treat ourselves and others as infected, and this behavior will help us overcome this situation without significant shocks.”
Touching on different scenarios, including the economic ones, the Prime Minister said: “Professional analysis evidence that the best scenario for overcoming the epidemic is to toughen public discipline under the logic of social solidarity, which in turn will help us address the imminent economic challenges in the best possible way. Some wonder why we do not resort to a total lockdown. Analyses show that if we impose a lockdown and it is not maintained properly, it will have a lasting and catastrophic impact on the economy. The lockdown may prove effective only if each of us adheres to strict safety rules in our individual behavior: if they are clearly followed, there will be no need for a new lockdown.”
Nikol Pashinyan once again addressed our compatriots. “Dear compatriots, it is my call and request to you to help each other with our individual behavior. I repeat, 433 people have died from coronavirus, 123 patients are in critical condition in our hospitals, 529 patients are in serious condition, while some 1739 patients suffer from pneumonia, which means that their condition can become severe or extremely severe at any time. We are all responsible for this statistics, but we can change it. I do believe that we can do that. My call remains the same: mobilize our efforts and step up discipline.”
Turning to Manager of the Intensive Care Unit of Nord Medical Center in Marseilles, Professor Laurent Papazian, who heads the second group of French specialists that arrived in Yerevan on a special flight, the Prime Minister thanked him for support and expressed hope that the Professor’s message might encourage our citizens to abide by the prescribed safety rules.
Stressing that he is proud to be in Armenia on such a crucial mission, Professor Papazian noted. “I had the honor to meet with my Armenian colleagues, who are very competent and hard-working, but they are exhausted nowadays. I would like to repeat what the Prime Minister said: I call on everyone to follow the anti-epidemic rules in order to save lives. The rules are very simple and are used all over the world. You should wear a mask, disinfect your hands and keep your social distance. Today’s joint work is the beginning of another great cooperation that may last for years. I would like to collaborate with Armenian doctors and share my experience not only in this context, but in general.”
Narine Sargsyants, Advisor on Infectious Diseases at the Ministry of Healthcare and Deputy Director of the Armenian AIDS Prevention Center, spoke about the clinical specificity of COVID-19.
“The virus penetrates through the respiratory tract which is its main target. In 40% of cases the disease runs in milder forms, while in 40% of cases it transforms into pneumonia. 15 percent are cases of acute, and 5 percent - extremely grave pneumonia, such as sepsis and acute respiratory failure. Unfortunately, this infection has another key feature: in quite a large percentage of cases, thrombi develop, which leads not only to disorders of blood supply to the lungs, but also to kidneys, heart and central nervous system, i.e. strokes develop. Please trust your doctors strictly. Today, some patients are being treated in primary care, please do not self-medicate. We should realize that this is an infectious disease; not a matter of personal, individual health, but of public health,” she said.
The Prime Minister thanked Narine Sargsyants and all medical workers for proper exercise of their mission in this difficult situation.