Interviews and press conferences

PM urges citizens not to weaken vigilance amid improved epidemiological situation


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After the regular meeting of the Commandant’s Office, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a news briefing with Deputy Prime Minister, State of Emergency Commandant Tigran Avinyan and Healthcare Minister Arsen Torosyan.

The Prime Minister first advised that the COVID-19-related epidemiological situation has considerably improved in the Republic of Armenia. “Based on last four or five days’ data, we can state that the number of new daily cases of infection has returned to the level of late May, the number of patients in serious condition is back to the level we had by the end of May, while the number of patients in critical condition is back to that of early June. This comparison is relative, of course, since regretfully the number of critical cases has diminished not only owing to treatment, but also due to the death toll. As of today, 723 coronavirus-caused fatalities have been recorded in Armenia,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

The Premier considered it important to underscore that we are entering the stage of overcoming the coronavirus in Armenia. The cornerstone of safety measures is the mandatory wearing of face masks indoors and outdoors. The Prime Minister went on to note that the briefing was meant to sound the alarm rather than to inform about the recent betterment in the epidemiological situation. He urged citizens not to weaken vigilance amid improving epidemiological situation, because we can return to the previous situation very shortly and face a serious increase in adverse statistics.

“I wish to remind you that we used to make such warnings during the peak recorded in June-July. I am hopeful that this time the social attitude to our alarm will be a little bit different. In other words, no matter the circumstances, and regardless of the optimistic news, the prescribed safety rules have to be strictly observed, especially as we have seen countries that returned to the previous situation or even aggravated it due to weakened vigilance after some improvement,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

The Head of Government further said he was well aware that many Armenian citizens are looking forth to easing the restrictions. “I would like to say that we discuss the possibility of easing the restrictions on a daily basis. In any case, once we see that there is such an objective possibility, we will avail ourselves of it.”

Coming to air communications, the Prime Minister noted that air traffic is hardly likely to resume in August, Nikol Pashinyan called on citizens to spend their holidays in Armenia, which in turn will help promote domestic tourism.

Healthcare Minister Arsen Torosyan noted that in tune with the developments the Vanadzor Infectious Diseases Hospital, the Medical Centers of Vedi and Dilijan will resume their normal operations on August 1. 3 other medical centers in Yerevan will be back to normal over the next 7-10 days if this trend goes on, According to the Minister, the number of patients being treated is now decreasing, there are many free beds in hospitals, both in ordinary and intensive care departments.

“With this in mind, we are planning to gradually withhold the bed stock, which in the meantime will stand prepared to operate under the same pressure in a couple of days, if the situation changes again. The hospitals will still be ready to reserve 2,700-2,800 beds for Covid-19 treatment, should the number of cases increase,” the Minister said.

According to Torosyan, Armenia’s healthcare system is prepared for the second wave of coronavirus. He said the healthcare system’s readiness will remain at almost the same level as at the peak of the disease. If there is an increase in the number of positive cases along with the cold weather due in the fall, in 1-2 days those medical centers that returned to their main functions will be able to perform all the functions they are performing now. “The healthcare system of Armenia is fully prepared for the second wave, assuming that the latter is nearly the same as the first one,” Arsen Torosyan concluded.

Deputy Prime Minister, State of Emergency Commandant Tigran Avinyan said decisions will soon be made on the activities of a number of spheres, which will allow resuming operations under strict observance of safety rules.

Wrapping up the briefing, the Prime Minister noted that the current situation is encouraging, but our hopes may vanish if we do not take the opportunity. “All the way through the anti-epidemic campaign, we used to be focused on the healthcare system, but it deals with people who are already infected, while the problem of not infecting citizens is handled elsewhere outside the healthcare system - in public institution, districts and families, as well as at an individual level. Therefore, we must take care of each other, not infect others and ourselves. To do so, please abide by three simple rules: wear a mask, practice social distancing, and regularly disinfect your hands. If we follow these rules, we will soon be talking about the coronavirus in the past indefinite tense. But if we do not comply with, this series of briefings will regretfully continue. Let us ensure that this series of briefings is discontinued so that we could concentrate on completely different topics, namely on our economic and other problems,” Nikol Pashinyan concluded.

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