Interviews and press conferences

Nikol Pashinyan: “Anti-epidemic rules should be observed if we are to maintain the positive trend”


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

The Prime Minister pointed out that the epidemiological situation has been improving: for the first time since 4 June; the number of people infected with COVID-19 fell down the mark of 8,000. Nikol Pashinyan added that the country was back to the level of late May and early June. The recent decrease in the number of infected people made people think that the epidemic is over, but this is not the case at all.

“Yesterday we had 288 new cases, which is incomparably less than in July, but it is still a huge number. We can say that the epidemiological situation remains tense in Armenia, and if we do not respond properly and do not make more effort, we can turn the situation back to the one we had in the first week of July, when the epidemic was at its peak. We are just facing the same threats as we did in May,” the Prime Minister said.

The Premier stressed that anti-epidemic rules should be observed more strictly if we are to maintain the positive trend. “The mandatory wearing of masks in open and enclosed areas is the cornerstone of our anti-epidemic strategy, and we all need to strictly observe these rules. In addition to appeals, administrative methods will be used and the police will ensure that citizens comply with the rules. We have an opportunity for succeeding a breakthrough,” the Head of Government said.

In turn, Deputy Prime Minister, State of Emergency Commandant Tigran Avinyan advised that the state of emergency, which expires on August 12, will be extended for another month in Armenia. Avinyan emphasized that the restrictions will be eased. “In particular, the restrictions will be eased on the entry of foreign citizens, export of goods, holding of public gatherings and functions,” he said. Tigran Avinyan noted that the Commandant’s Office will focus on issues related to general and higher education.

“The Commandant’s Office has been developing management programs for various areas. Whereas the new academic year is approaching, a primary focus was placed on general and higher education. We have already developed different models and, depending on the epidemiological situation, we will opt for the right model in resuming the operations of schools and universities,” the Deputy Prime Minister said, noting that a first discussion to that effect was held at the August 5 meeting of the Commandant’s Office.

“A finalized action plan will out by August 10. Similar models have been developed for other areas as well,” Tigran Avinyan concluded.

Healthcare Minister Arsen Torosyan expressed confidence that concerted action has yielded good results, and the epidemiological situation is being stabilized in Armenia. “We have a real chance, if not to bring to zero, but at least to reduce the number of cases to the point that the coronavirus could no longer pose serious problems for public health,” the minister said, noting that 300 citizens are in a grave condition at this point of time. 68 citizens are in a critical condition, 24 people are connected to ventilators.

The minister recalled that a while ago the number of patients in a critical condition reached 650, with 50 patients connected to lung ventilators.

“It is likewise important in the sense that we have recorded a decrease in the death poll, which is the main goal of our efforts. We have always stressed that we were to have two deaths for every 100 reported cases, no matter how well we treat and how soon we detect those cases. Indeed, low figures mean fewer deaths. We hope that one day this figure will be zeroed,” he said.

The number of medical institutions treating COVID-19 patients has decreased from 20 to 15. Two more medical institutions will return to their normal activities in the coming days.

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