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Arsen Torosyan reports to Prime Minister on COVID-19 response activities and on medical care provided to wounded servicemen


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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received Minister of Healthcare Arsen Torosyan, who briefed the Premier on COVID-19 response action and on medical care provided to wounded servicemen.

“Mr. Torosyan, I have invited you to review the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the problems faced in providing medical care to our servicemen wounded in the war in order to understand what is to be done ahead, diagnose the challenges faced at this stage that should be dealt with within the shortest possible deadlines. We have seen speculations as to the number of people killed in the war. The Ministry of Healthcare has already commented thereon, and I think that all questions of public concern have been answered. Of course, there are still uncertainties. Now, in parallel with the work done by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the deployment of peacekeepers, a process of exchange of dead bodies is taking place. We hope that this painful process will be complete soon to quell any uncertainty,” Prime Minister Pashinyan said.

The Healthcare Minister noted that the COVID-19-related situation remained tense during the war. According to Arsen Torosyan, having to face a new challenge, namely the treatment of those injured in action, the healthcare system continued to deal with thousands of citizens who had tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

“As it was the case with the previous spike in June and July this year, 26 medical institutions have been set up to deal with the coronavirus disease. We have seen a sharp increase in incidences, and we have no reason yet to state that the trend will be reversed,” the Minister said, adding that there are 553 patients currently waiting for hospitalization. Their health status is either serious or extremely serious.

“We have had up to 850 such cases during the past 7-10 days. We are trying to build up the stock of hospital beds and oxygen devices in order to reduce the number of people in the queue. In fact, we currently have 39,564 active cases of COVID-19, of which only 2,500 are being treated in hospitals. The rest are being treated at home,” he said.

With reference to the statements that there are hospitals that do not deal with the coronavirus disease, Arsen Torosyan confirmed that there are such hospitals. “Some of them are not intended for dealing with the coronavirus because they were seen as reserve hospitals during the hostilities. At the same time, there are some hospitals that do not deal with COVID-19 as they have problems with oxygen supply. As in summer, oxygen is the main problem. It is true that we have brought in a large number of installations from Europe and other countries, but such large numbers, as in the rest of the world, have again increased the demand for oxygen. We used to import oxygen from the Russian Federation, now we are importing it from Georgia. We have acquired 4 more stations from China. Oxygen is difficult to obtain, including from Georgia, as it is subject to strict quotas even within the country. Now, we stand at our maximum capacity. Again, we need to focus on reducing the incidences of COVID-19, what we all need to do and what we have been calling for to date. This is the only tool to defy the challenge, considering that we are in for winter,” the Healthcare Minister concluded.

Coming to the medical care provided to those servicemen wounded in the war, Arsen Torosyan stressed that the entire staff of the ministry and the subordinate institutions were mobilized immediately after the war had started. Great resources have been developed in two main directions, Vardenis and Goris, in order to host the wounded, sort them, provide medical care on the spot, and transfer them to medical facilities in the rear.

“According to their specialized profile, some 36 medical institutions were deployed with different workload. The full capacity of ambulance was involved, additional units were formed. About 2,000 medical calls were made for transportation purposes. Vehicles were called in from other institutions and reorganized into reanimobiles. We recruited additional staff for them. About 80 ambulances used to be on duty on a daily basis in order to transport the wounded. We were largely assisted by sanitary planes, through which we transported the seriously wounded servicemen. As a result, the transfer time was reduced threefold,” the Minister added..

Arsen Torosyan advised that many Diaspora-based Armenian doctors joined the healthcare system during the war. The Minister thanked them, noting that many of them are still working on the ground.

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