The Ministry of Health issued a statement urging citizens to refrain from celebrating Vardavar [an Armenian festival where people drench each other in water], avoid crowded places and events. The Ministry noted that Vardavar celebrations will create additional risks for the spread of the virus since it will be difficult to comply with the anti-pandemic guidelines. According to the statement, it will be almost impossible to wear masks (wet masks can create conditions for pathogens of the disease to stay for a long time), regularly wash/disinfect hands and maintain physical distancing. All of these are favorable conditions for the sharp increase of the number of cases.
The Ministry of Health of Artsakh reported four new cases of COVID-19 and one recovery, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 167, of which 33 are active cases and 134 have already recovered. Two of the new cases were registered in Stepanakert, the patients are family members who have been in isolation. Two patients remain in serious condition and four patients are in critical but stable condition. To date, 3587 tests have been conducted and 55 citizens are in isolation.
The Ministry of Health reported 461 new cases of COVID-19 and 631 recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 34,462 of which 10,507 are active cases and 23,123 have already recovered. Eleven COVID-19 patients (the youngest aged 53 and the oldest 92), who all had pre-existing health conditions, died bringing the total number of deaths to 631. Four patients with COVID-19 also died, but the virus was not the cause of death; 201 such cases have been reported. To date, 145,083 tests have been conducted, of which 1,969 were in the last 24 hours.
New on EVN Report
In EVN Report’s news roundup for the week of July 17: Azerbaijani forces attack Armenian border units that has led to the most severe escalation of tensions since the 2016 April War; Armenia’s government extends the State of Emergency for a fourth time; new details are revealed regarding an illegal adoption ring and more.
During a press conference, Gayane Sahakyan, the Deputy Head of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Head of the National Immunization Program, announced that the two possible vaccines for COVID-19, which are in the third and the last stage of testing will probably reach Armenia next year. According to Sahakyan, vaccination for coronavirus will not be mandatory but they will identify high-risk groups and will suggest these people to get a vaccination.
She noted that although Armenia’s Health Ministry is already in negotiations to procure the vaccine, we cannot expect to secure them for the country soon. Sahakyan also stressed that due to the pandemic, the ongoing work of some healthcare services has worsened and some important vaccination programs have been disrupted. She said that due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, people are afraid to get vaccinated since they think they might get infected when they go to the polyclinics. According to Sahakyan, this year Armenia has registered two cases of mumps and yellow fever whereas in the past two years there were only one or no cases at all.
During March of this year, vaccination among the population has decreased by 27 percent. Sahakyan noted that although COVID-19 remains a priority, we should not forget about other infections, which can easily spread if there is no vaccination. She went on to say that face masks, and disinfecting hands are important for the fight against the coronavirus, but these efforts also prevent other diseases. According to Sahakyan, because people follow basic hygiene rules, the percentage of airborne and intestinal diseases has decreased compared to previous years.
The Arabkir Medical Center, which has been treating children infected with COVID-19 since March 31, in a Facebook post presented a summary of their activities in the last few months. According to the post, over 621 children with suspicious COVID-19 symptoms were hospitalized in the special isolation department of the center over the last three months, and 181 children in critical or in critical but stable condition were hospitalized in an isolated COVID-19 department. Some of the children, who were between the ages of 1.5 months to 18 years of age, had pre-existing health conditions which caused complications. To date, eight children were diagnosed with Kawasaki syndrome and with other similar diseases.
The statement also said that all the infected children have fully recovered and have been discharged from the center. During the past three months, the medical center also worked in the Mari Izmirlyan and Children’s Home of Yerevan orphanages (where some of the children and employees were infected with COVID-19) and noted that all the children in those institutions have recovered from the virus.
Tigran Avinyan, the Warden of the Special Commission, urged citizens in a Facebook post to restrain from the “temptation” of celebrating Vardavar on July 19 in a “traditional manner” and avoid crowded places and events. He noted that a celebration like Vardavar can accelerate the spread of the virus and the country will face an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. This will become an additional risk to public health and creating problems for the overwhelmed healthcare system.
According to Avinyan, the police will carry out an intensified control and monitoring in public places to prevent large gatherings. He also noted that the Armenian Armed Forces are currently protecting the country’s border positions from the provocations of Azerbaijan with high professionalism and dedication and the population has to protect the country’s “inner borders” from coronavirus with high responsibility and discipline.
The Ministry of Health of Artsakh reported seven new cases of COVID-19 and five recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 163, of which 30 are active cases and 133 have already recovered. Two of the new cases were registered at the border checkpoint, four are from previously identified infection hubs, one is from a new hub. All new cases were reported from Stepanakert. Two of the patients are in critical condition and four are in critical but stable condition. To date, 3,504 tests have been conducted and 50 people are in isolation.
The Ministry of Health reported 442 new cases of COVID-19 and 561 recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 34,001 of which 10,692 are active cases and 22,492 have already recovered. Thirteen COVID-19 patients (the youngest aged 49 and the oldest 84), who all had pre-existing health conditions, died bringing the total number of deaths to 620. Eight patients with COVID-19 also died, but the virus was not the cause of death; 197 such cases have been reported.To date, 143,144 tests have been conducted, of which 1,704 were in the last 24 hours.