President Armen Sargsyan’s office informs that an Air Serbia charter flight carrying medical supplies and equipment from Serbia has landed in Armenia and a second plane is expected to arrive tomorrow. The assistance was arranged following communication between President Sargsyan and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić.
Serbia provided Armenia with ten artificial respirators, ten monitors tracking the patient's condition, 500,000 surgical and 100,000 other masks, 25,000 goggles, 25,000 medical protective overalls and other necessary items.
The Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that about 1500 volunteers of the Armenian Red Cross in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s office have started a countrywide public awareness campaign. The volunteers are handing out anti-pandemic information pamphlets and also face masks when necessary.
The Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that on June 18, about one hundred shops, restaurants, bakeries and other enterprises across the country have been fined with 24 hour closure due to violations of safety measures set by the Special Commission.
According to Artsakh’s Health Ministry, a new COVID-19 infection hub has been identified in the region of Martakert. Three new cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Artsakh; two of the new patients are from the same community in the Martakert region, one is from the Hadrut region and is among the contacts of a previously registered patient.
Artsakh has registered a total of 94 COVID-19 cases, with 56 recoveries. To date, 1,520 tests have been conducted.
By the decision of the Warden of the Special Commission of Artsakh Grigor Martirosyan, the communities of Chapar and Getavan in the Martakert region will come under lockdown starting June 19, with no end date mentioned in the decision.
The Yerevan Municipality, following discussions with the Special Commission, has decided that starting June 22, only one or two public kindergartens in each administrative district of Yerevan will be allowed to operate. Children going to other kindergartens will be transferred to the one’s operating.
Kentron administrative district N1
Arabkir, N 25, N 31
Ajapnyak, N47, N 50
Davtashen, N 60, N 62
Erebuni N 64, N 66
Malatia-Sebastia, N 91, N 96
Nor-Nork, N 100, N 114
Nubarashen, N 125
Shengavit, N 126, N139
During the government session, PM Nikol Pashinyan said that the numbers of new infections continue to be concerning. He explained the new requirement by the Special Commission that everyone have their ID with them when outside; the reason is so that police can issue fines in case of a violation of safety guidelines. The PM said that if an individual is stopped by police for a violation, but they do not have ID on them, they will be fined twice.
Pashinyan said he is confident that all state agencies that deal with the public are following the guidelines of the Special Commission [with regard to regulating queues, physical distancing, etc]. He said that they must do this not only inside the premises, but also outside, where people are waiting in queues. PM noted that regulations need to be especially strictly enforced in the banking sector. He asked the newly appointed Chairman of the Central Bank Martin Galstyan to ensure that banks throughout Armenia comply with the set rules. Pashinyan stressed that heads of all state agencies which provide daily services to people, including the postal and customs services, and bodies dealing with taxpayer issues, have a personal responsibility to ensure that anti-epidemic rules are maintained.
Speaking about the ongoing spread of the virus, Pashinyan stressed that the Government needs to increase its oversight capacity and conduct regular monitoring activities in neighborhoods that have seen a large number of infections. He also noted that the price of face masks has decreased significantly and that, according to the expectations by the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Activity, citizens will soon be able to buy a face mask for 60-70 AMD. It is already scientifically proven that wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing and disinfecting hands regularly provides a 95% guarantee that a person will not be infected with COVID-19. Pashinyan stressed that wearing a face mask does not just protect those who wear it, but rather the people around them. Since the Government is certain that there are thousands of asymptomatic patients in the country, who do not even know that they are infected, we need to treat everyone around us as a potentially infected person. In this context, those who do not wear a face mask should think about how they are putting others at risk and not themselves.
Pashinyan reminded that every day the Health Ministry reports the number of patients that died within the last 24 hours and noted that the death rate is directly influenced by the overall number of confirmed cases (a greater number of confirmed cases implies more deaths). In this context, the behavior of every individual matters. Pashinyan brought his own example: when he was infected with COVID-19 and was a carrier of the virus, he always wore a face mask and maintained physical distancing when around other people, he did not transmit the virus to anyone else [Editor’s Note: Although he did infect his immediate family members].
Health Minister Arsen Torosyan provided updates regarding the overall COVID-19 situation in the country. Torosyan reaffirmed the PM's point that cases of infection are being reported from the same neighborhood, the same street or even the same building. The Minister said that increasing monitoring capacity will not address this issue and that behavioral change is required. Torosyan went on to say that funeral services and other forms of celebrations remain a serious concern and wondered how it is possible to show such a blatant disregard for one’s own health and the health of their guests. He stressed that statistics about the coronavirus death rate shows that none of us, our parents or our grandparents are immune from being infected and eventually dying because of the virus. Torosyan prioritized the need to improve communication with the public.
As of 9 a.m., 143 COVID-19 patients need to be hospitalized in specialized medical centers: 25 of those patients are in their homes, while the remaining are in hospitals but need to be transferred to medical centers specifically designed for COVD-19 patients. Torosyan spoke about data he posted to Facebook yesterday regarding the epidemiological trends for the past 10 days, which are more encouraging than expected. He went on to explain that they are not just concerned about the epidemiological trends but also about the absolute number of confirmed cases, which do not show any sign of decrease. Speaking about bed capacity, Torosyan said that 263 ICU beds are allocated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients (two weeks ago the number of beds was about 200). Almost all of the ICU beds are occupied. 444 of the patients are in critical condition and 131 are in extremely critical condition and 39 are on ventilators. Torosyan mentioned that the Ministry continues to involve more medical centers in treating COVID-19 patients, but this increase is not able to keep pace with the increasing number of confirmed cases. He also said that the allocated resources will never be enough and that is why it is more important to focus on solutions that will halt the spread of the virus.
PM Pashinyan also reaffirmed that the state’s resources are limited and that the entire healthcare system cannot treat only coronavirus patients. This means that the problem is outside the healthcare system and people need to follow the three simple rules: wear a face mask, maintain physical distancing and regularly disinfect/wash hands.
Gegham Gevorgyan, the Chairman of the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Activity, mentioned that domestically-produced face masks cost 100 AMD in pharmacies while imported face masks cost up to 150 AMD. He noted that the price of domestically-produced face masks is expected to decrease to 70 AMD.
The Ministry of Health reported 665 new cases of COVID-19 and 746 recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 18,698, of which 10,728 are active cases and 7,560 have already recovered. Seven COVID-19 patients (the youngest aged 62 and the oldest 85), who all had pre-existing health conditions, died bringing the total number of deaths to 309. Two other patients with COVID-19 also died, but the virus was not the cause of death; 101 such cases have been reported. To date, 89,992 tests have been conducted, of which 2,392 were in the last 24 hours.