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Government decides to close land border and communication with Iran, with some exceptions


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Chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the recently established commission on coordination of preventive action against the spread of coronavirus in Armenia (hereinafter the Coronavirus Prevention Commission) met today in the Office of Government. The meeting reviewed the global and regional situation and the set of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus in our country.

Minister of Healthcare Arsen Torosyan provided statistics on coronoavirus incidences and the death toll recorded at this point of time. He dwelt on the preventive measures being taken in our country, the monitoring of arrivals, as well as on the diagnostic and treatment resources available in Armenia’s medical institutions.

A set of recommended actions were discussed during the exchange of views that followed, including the steps to take in connection with the spread of the coronavirus to neighboring Iran. The Prime Minister issued relevant instructions for the heads of all concerned government departments.

Summing up the meeting, the Premier said:
“We discussed a set of actions to prevent the entry of coronavirus into Armenia at the Coronavirus Prevention Commission. We are holding an emergency discussion as there have been cases of coronavirus-caused deaths in neighboring Iran. Eight casualties have already been reported and we need to take action.

After discussing the matter in all detail, we decided that we will close the land border and communication with the Islamic Republic of Iran for two weeks as of today. Of course, there will be some exceptions: there will be no restrictions on the transport of goods: the drivers shall simply be subject to special control, and there will be a special procedure for transporting goods. There will be no restrictions on the repatriation of citizens on either side, that is, they can freely return to their homeland.

Some air traffic restrictions will apply. The above restrictions shall be effective for a period of two weeks. During these two weeks we will keep in close touch with friendly Iran’s government officials in order to have a more comprehensive idea of the situation, after which we will jointly decide what to do next.

In general, I would also like to state that there is no need for panic. Yes, there is a problem, but, thank God, the Republic of Armenia has so far managed to avoid having coronavirus- infected patients, and we hope that the proposed measures will help maintain this status quo. In any case, I think we should have a very cold, sober and calm attitude to the situation, since the spread of panic and rumors will definitely not be in service in dealing with the problem.

It should be recorded that the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Armenia and the Health and Labor Inspectorate have all necessary diagnostic resources. We also note that the Commission has been working since January 30, with the border control having been tightened earlier - since January 24. Therefore, it is important to state that we are not just responding to an outbreak in Iran, but started this process much earlier and hope that the given approach will continue to be effective in the future as well.

At a remote Cabinet meeting, the Government will make a decision, which will come into force today. We should be flexible in this matter, that is the border is not closed 100%, but with the exceptions listed above.”

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