Taking into consideration the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the Armenian government implemented a one-month state of emergency that went into force on March 16, 2020 at 5 p.m. local time. Updates and news about the regulations of the state of emergency are being published through the government’s official channel, “Armenian Unified Infocenter.”
EVN Report will be providing periodic translations of those announcements.
Moving forward, we will be publishing briefings once daily about the COVID-19 situation in Armenia.
March 28, 2 p.m.
During a press conference, Deputy Police Chief Hayk Mhryan said that since March 26, four checkpoints on the border between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh have been closed in connection with the spread of coronavirus and that restrictions on freedom of movement have been imposed in Artsakh. Additionally, only people who are registered in the Republic of Artsakh, journalists and observers covering the upcoming elections in Artsakh (with the proper paperwork), cargo transportation and all organizations catering to the needs of the Defence Army will be allowed to enter Artsakh.
To date,1889 administrative violations have been registered (these include citizens who did not have proper ID on them or failed to have the completed standardized form). Mhryan said that in time and with due procedure it will be decided which one of these registered violations will be processed as a fine and in what amount. The new regulations also stipulate that there can be no more than two people in a vehicle at a time (the law does not limit the number of children). Police have registered 1843 instances when the number of passengers exceeded the allowance. These people were asked to exit the vehicles they were traveling in. Also, 48 public transportation drivers have been fined for transporting more than the permitted amount of passengers.
Mhryan said he does not rule out that there still might be small congregations of people on the streets in some suburbs of Yerevan, as police resources are limited. He also said that the new mobile version of the standardized form is acceptable and that all police officers have been notified.
Mhryan denied speculations that there are cases of COVID-19 infections at the police academy. The academy, just like all of the divisions of the police force, abides by strict measures aimed at stopping the spread of the virus, he said.
Citizens are not required by law to wear masks or gloves, they will be only be fined in the absence of an ID card and the required form (in the amount of 100-250 thousand AMD)
March 28, 3 p.m.
Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan wrote on his Facebook page that to avoid direct contact and stop the spread of the virus, police have been instructed to not touch ID cards and the standardized form that all citizens are required to have when leaving the house, but rather ask the citizens to show the documents to the officers themselves.
Avinyan also said that there is now the online version of the standardized form, available at https://ac19.am/app/mobility. After users fill in the required information, an electronic document will be generated, which will not be possible to edit later.
March 27, 8 p.m.
Armen Harutyunyan, the Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations (MES) and Vrej Gabrielyan of the Ministry’s Rescue Service gave a press conference this evening.
The Deputy Minister said that since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the MES has been closely working with the Ministry of Health. The National Crisis Management Center of the Rescue Service of MES has received over 500 calls from citizens, all of which were related to coronavirus. He went on to say that the buses and ambulances belonging to the Ministry, were used to transfer and quarantine over 400 people.
Harutyunyan said that the Ministry had been carrying out targeted disinfection operations, however, starting from 6 a.m. tomorrow, they will carry out disinfection/decontamination operations throughout the entire country. The Deputy Minister said that for the past two months, they have been working on a 24-hour schedule and they are no longer limited to their mandate, that is, they are ready and prepared to step in to assist in any way possible. He urged everyone to follow the instructions by the Ministry of Health.
Gabrielyan spoke about the measures the Rescue Service has taken to ensure the protection of First Responders and everyone they come into contact with.He said that one of the first responders has tested positive for COVID-19 and that he had contracted the infection from his wife, who in turn had contracted the virus from one of the secondary infection clusters in the country. Gabrielyan said that contact tracing has been done and all those people are now quarantined at a premise under their jurisdiction to spare the Ministry of Health of additional burden.
Six employees of the Ministry are currently in self-isolation because they had come into contact with people outside the Ministry, who were infected. “We are constantly monitoring the contact spheres of our employees to try and prevent a possible infection within the ranks,” Gabrielyan said. “Even on their days off, employees are monitored.”
The Ministry already has 15,000 units of different kinds of protective gear for the protection of their employees.
March 27, 7 p.m.
The National Center of Disease Control and Prevention has released a map of the spread of COVID-19 in Armenia according to each region. The numbers as of 6 p.m., March 27 are; Yerevan - 151 cases, Aragatsotn - 4 cases, Ararat - 56 cases, Armavir - 52 cases, Kotayk - 57 cases, Lori - 2, Shirak - 5, Syunik - 2. The map will be regularly updated on their site.
March 26, 13:15 p.m.
During a press conference, Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan answered reporters' questions regarding the current COVID-19 situation in Armenia. Torosyan clarified that the assertion that children are considered to be less vulnerable to coronavirus applies only to children without other pre-existing conditions, compromised immune systems or currently undergoing treatment. Children in these categories are also among the vulnerable groups. Thus, it is very important that everyone, regardless of their age group, follow the basic guidelines provided by healthcare professionals, such as avoiding crowded places, maintaining social distance and regularly washing hands. He urged citizens to follow those requirements, at least until the outbreak starts to slow down or a vaccine is developed.
Speaking about the medical personnel working in three hospitals, where patients infected with coronavirus are being treated, Torosyan said that the Ministry is doing everything to ensure they are supported, including organizing their transportation to and from hospitals and providing food. He said that some of the doctors have decided to stay in hotels so as not to compromise the health of their family members. The Ministry is covering these expenses. The Ministry has also trained about 50 doctors, so that they can provide services in other hospitals as well or provide relief for the overworked doctors.
Torosyan also said that Armenia has sufficient PCR tests and continues to acquire new ones. As of today, 1440 people have been tested for COVID-19, with 290 coming back positive. Torosyan promised that, in the coming days, the Ministry will also provide information about the number of confirmed cases in every region of Armenia. He also reminded reporters that tests are being conducted only by the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, headquartered in Yerevan, which has the capacity, the required safety standards and the resources to conduct them. Three of the Center’s branches, in Gyumri, Vanadzor and Kapan, which are in compliance with the required standards have also conducted tests. The Minister noted that the tests are not fully reliable and their efficiency has not been completely determined.
Speaking about the spread of the virus in Shirak, Lori and Kotayk regions, Torosyan explained that, in some cases, residents of those regions became carriers of the infection while they were travelling abroad, while in other cases, residents were infected locally (from other citizens of Armenia). The Minister also said that determining the scope of the infected citizens’ affected contacts is an ongoing process. In some cases, it takes longer because citizens are not willing to cooperate with the authorities (for reasons unknown to Torosyan). So far, most of the cases were registered in Yerevan, Armavir, Ararat and Kotayk regions.
Hydroxychloroquine is among the drugs that world health experts claim can be effective in treating COVID-19. Although further clinical studies are required to fully determine its effectiveness, Torosyan said that some of the patients have been treated with this drug for the past three days. He said that the drug is given to patients in critical condition. The Minister also stated that one doctor and one ambulance driver have been infected with coronavirus (earlier, one nurse had also tested positive). Speaking about the cases that were confirmed in two factories based in Erebuni and Charentsavan, Torosyan said that several hundred people were quarantined from these two infection hubs.
March 26, 1 p.m.
According to a March 26 Government decision, a number of measures will be initiated to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic for businesses.
Assistance will be provided:
- To families with underage children who are struggling due to the difficulties in the labor market caused by the spread of the coronavirus. The one-time assistance will be in the sum of the minimum monthly wage for each underage child.
- To ease/mitigate current liquidity risks for agricultural enterprises, co-financing of targeted loans will be provided in the form of interest subsidies.
- To mitigate current liquidity risks of businesses, co-financing, refinancing and interest subsidies on targeted loans from lending institutions.
- To provide individual businesses who are suffering in the current situation, with a one time assistance grant to help preserve jobs.
- To mitigate current liquidity risks for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Areas of operation include: manufacturing, accommodation and catering, transportation and warehouse/storage facilities, service and tourism and other services.
Support is provided to businesses through the Investment Support Center.
March 26, 10:30 a.m.
During today’s Government session, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Armenia has 290 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Two patients, both over the age of 75, are in critical condition and being treated in intensive care, one of them is a US citizen. There have been 18 cases of recovery and about 100 citizens have been released from quarantine without ever testing positive. The number of recoveries and releases is expected to begin increasing as many reach the end of their 14-day isolation period.
Pashinyan noted the importance of effectively managing healthcare facility resources. There are patients occupying hospital beds today who do not require any treatment. “These are light cases who tested positive for COVID-19 and their hospitalization is not justified.” Pashinyan had a discussion in the morning with Special Commissioner Tigran Avinyan and Health Minister Arsen Torosyan, where they decided that the government will try to collaborate with hotels to move these light case patients (who make up the majority) there and provide them with food and other needs. Currently, many hotels are virtually empty. Pashinyan said that he understands that some hotels might be reluctant to collaborate over worries about the future of their brand but they may have already hosted infected guests anyway and are obliged to disinfect their rooms regardless.
Torosyan confirmed that the health ministry will oversee that the rooms are properly disinfected. Torosyan said that the procedure is already in place, as the rooms used by people in quarantine who test positive are already thoroughly disinfected before another person can use that room.
Pashinyan pointed out that the state of emergency authorized the government to require compliance but that he would rather negotiate with the hotels, in keeping with the government’s objective of minimizing the impact on business.
Pashinyan repeated the health minister’s assertion that Armenia’s pandemic situation is still at a manageable level. “We see that the numbers are growing astronomically in other countries. We thank God we do not have astronomical numbers for the time being; though our numbers continue to increase. To keep the situation under control, it is imperative that we enforce this week’s regime of mandated self-isolation.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Special Commissioner Tigran Avinyan presented statistics for public transportation use in Yerevan. He said that during March and April 2019, there were an average of 550,000 rides/day. The number for March 25, 2020 came in at 18,000 rides/day, a reduction of 97%. Avinyan said the picture is similar outside Yerevan. Avinyan said people are generally abiding by the restrictions, even though some violations were registered by police yesterday. Avinyan underscored that these restrictions have been put in place to stop the spread of the virus and the government is using this time to re-equip and improve the preventative measures in place. He was optimistic that, if today’s dynamic is maintained, the seven day period will suffice and the government will be able to lift the heavy restrictions on movement. Avinyan called on the owners and managers of hotels and guest houses who are interested in collaborating to get in touch with the tourism committee and submit their price quotes.
Police Chief Arman Sargsyan
By 8:30 a.m. on the morning of March 26, 286 administrative violations of the nationwide lockdown were registered, with 60 citizens taken to police stations; 685 cars received warnings for having more than two occupants. Nine drivers of public transportation vehicles have been fined for taking on more passengers than their vehicle’s seating capacity.
Pashinyan also talked about the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled to take place in Artsakh on March 31, for which groups of election observers were scheduled to arrive from Armenia. Pashinyan concluded that, since Armenia now has rapid tests, all observers going from Armenia should be tested and that any of the observers from high-risk areas should be replaced. Artsakh still has zero cases of COVID-19 and everything should be done to keep it that way, said Pashinyan.
March 25, 8:30 p.m.
According to Armenia’s Ministry of Finance, an account that was opened for individuals and organizations to donate funds to assist the government in fighting the spread of COVID-19 in the country, has raised 512,607,314 AMD (approximately $1 million US) through 2582 individual donations as March 25, 6 p.m.
March 25, 8:15 p.m.
According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, as of 8:30 pm, 158 people have been fined (84 in the capital Yerevan, 74 in the regions) for violating the state of emergency rules of isolation or self-isolation and for violating other restrictions on freedom of movement.
Forty people did not have proper identification papers on them. They were obligated to present the appropriate ID to their local police stations to verify their identity, after which they were fined.
March 25, 12 p.m.
During a press conference, Deputy Police Chief Hayk Mhryan and Head of the Department for Drafting Anti-Corruption and Penitentiary Policies of the Ministry of Justice Arpine Sargsyan spoke about the stricter restrictions imposed on peoples’ free movement and the administrative fines that can be imposed if people violate those restrictions.
Mhryan reminded everyone that as of midnight last night, people are required to self-isolate and that the police will be closely following the enforcement of the restrictions. Police officers already started urging citizens to follow the requirements of the Special Commission. Mhryan also clarified that the decision of the Commission mentions the types of business entities/organizations that are allowed to continue their operations during the time of emergency, and what documents people should have when leaving the house. The Deputy Chief of Police expressed hope that police forces will be able to guarantee the enforcement of the Commission’s requirements.
When answering reporters' questions, Mhryan also clarified that journalists are not required to have the standardized form with them when leaving the house, if they have a reporter ID. So far, police have asked 96 people to get out of a car, because they were violating the Commission’s decision, which says that a maximum of two people are allowed to be in the same car. He went on to say that people need time to adjust to the new restrictions that police forces will start enforcing the requirements more strictly starting from 16:00 today.
Speaking of restrictions from the perspective of administrative and criminal offences, Arpine Sargsyan said that parliament on March 23 already approved, in the second and final reading, the amendments and changes to the Code of Administrative Violations and the Criminal Code proposed by the Justice Ministry. These amendments aim to regulate:
1) Noncompliance with media restrictions and the corresponding administrative fines. The text initially referenced mass media outlets but since the one bearing responsibility should be the individual disseminating non-official information, the wording has been amended. The fine has been set at 100 to 300 times the minimum wage. The amendment also foresees situations when after being fined, the outlet or individual refuses to take down the information, in such cases there will be a fine from 500 to 1000 times the minimum wage.
2) Taking into consideration the restriction on free movement during the state of emergency, the amended law also foresees fines for noncompliance with the rules of isolation, self-isolation and movement. In this case, there is also a fine from 100 to 250 times the minimum wage.
Not to encounter problems in the future, lawmakers have clearly defined isolation and self-isolation.
The above mentioned are for cases that have not led to consequences. If cases when noncompliance with the rules has led to certain consequences, for example, infecting others. In such cases the person will be charged with criminal responsibility.
The person has intentionally caused considerable harm to someone else’s health
and/or has infected two and more people or
the person's actions have led to someone’s death.
Regarding concerns with the condition of prisoners, Aprine Sargsyan said that taking into consideration the specificity of penitentiaries, the Special Commission has established regulations that aim to protect both prisoners and their families. All physical visits are prohibited, however, video calls will be allowed to ensure that the rights of prisoners to connect with the outside world is not infringed upon. The government has also prohibited the delivery of parcels to prisons as it could potentially cause the spread of the virus. Additionally, religious services for the prison population are also banned.
Sargsyan said that prisons are being disinfected regularly including the administrative wings as well as the prison cells and everyone’s temperature is regularly monitored. Information sessions have also been organized about the sanitary hygienic preventative measures, social distancing, etc. A number of prisoners have been tested for COVID-19, but all results have so far been negative.
March 24, 9 p.m.
- 14 COVID-19 patients have recovered; 12 of the 14 who were quarantined never exhibited any symptoms and were never hospitalized; the other two were being treated at the Nork Infection Clinical Hospital (announced earlier today).
- Another two patients at the Nork Infection Hospital have tested negative and will be released tomorrow after repeated tests confirm the negative results.
- Eight citizens have been released from quarantine, 37 of the 88 were in self-isolation in their building (announced earlier today), 51 people were quarantined at a designated facility.
March 24, 8 p.m.
8 p.m. During a press conference, Suren Krmoyan, adviser to Deputy Prime Minister and Warden of the Special Commission Tigran Avinyan spoke about the restrictions imposed by the March 24 decision of the Commission, limiting people’s right to free movement throughout the territory of Armenia. The decision will come into force this evening at 23:59. Accordingly, people are required to self-isolate and leave their homes only in three exceptional cases, as specified by the decision:
1) To go to the supermarket (or local grocery store); the pharmacy; to attend a funeral or take care of someone else;
2) To do physical exercise/activities in their neighborhood;
3) To go to work, if a person works for a business/organization whose activities have not been temporarily suspended by law.
These restrictions apply to both citizens of Armenia, as well as foreign nationals.
All those leaving their homes are required to fill out a standardized form about their movement (adopted as part of the decision by the Commission) and have it with their passport. All those people going to work are also required to fill out the standardized form, which should have your full name, the time you left the house, your address, the address of your destination, as well as the time of leaving and returning back. Starting tomorrow, police officers will be monitoring the movement of people throughout the territory of the Republic and will be allowed to stop people and ask to see the required documents, and if necessary, apply the measures, specified by law. The standardized form does not need to be printed, citizens are free to have it hand-written and signed. People can download the standardized form from the gov.am website.
According to the March 24 decision (decision N.15) by the Special Commission, which imposes restrictions on public service, public authorities are required to work remotely, when and if possible. Additionally, offices providing services to state bodies will also not be working, and citizens should not physically go to state bodies with their requests. All state bodies that will not be working in the following week, are required to provide contact information, so that people with urgent requests can contact them.
The Government has also launched covid19.gov.am platform (the standardized form will be available here as well), where updated information about coronavirus developments, decisions by the Special Commission, and travel restrictions will be regularly posted. Later, Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan will also provide information about the mobile app that has already been launched that will allow citizens to contact health authorities and by answering some questions, get a preliminary assessment of their health status online. The app was provided to Armenia by Iran and was adopted to Armenia’s needs.
Today at 6:30 p.m., Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed the nation. Below is an unofficial translation of his address:
“Today, the world is living difficult days. The novel coronavirus is not only spreading throughout the world, but according to the World Health Organization, is gaining new momentum.
Today, there are more 350,000 confirmed cases around the world. More than 16,000 people have died of the virus.
What do we know about coronavirus? It is an infection that is transferred quickly from one human to another, through airborne particles, it affects the respiratory system, causing a consistent dry cough, breathing problems, accompanied by a high temperature and in some cases, leading to severe pneumonia. The world’s and Armenia’s experience has shown, however, that people with coronavirus can be asymptomatic. In many cases, a person can be infected but not have a cough, respiratory issues or a high temperature. In these cases, the person doesn’t even know they are carriers/infected, and can recover without any intervention and therefore the disease does not threaten them. The problem is that they can infect friends, family, others. International experience has shown that it is not a threat to children and many young people, but can be fatal for people over 70 and those with chronic health problems. The main issue is to protect our sick people, our parents, our grandparents. To do everything to prevent them from this virus. Getting infected is not a death sentence, tens of thousands have recovered, including people above 70. But every life is priceless and we must do everything to ensure we have no deaths. This is what we have striven for from the beginning. We shut down educational institutions so that we would protect not only children, but people they come into contact with. Our goal is not just halting the further spread of the virus, but also protecting those that are especially vulnerable to the virus and to prevent extreme pressure on our health system.
Dear compatriots, today as of 18:30, our statistics are the following: We have 249 confirmed COVID-19 patients. Most of them are at the Nork Infection Clinical Hospital, others in different medical establishments. At this time, some of them do not even have a temperature, which allows us to hope that many will recover even without any medical intervention. The main reason for keeping them in hospital is to prevent them from infecting other citizens. There are 11 people above the age of 65, five people above the age of 70, fortunately we do not have patients above the age of 80.
We have 30 patients with pneumonia, five are in intensive care and unfortunately one of them, a 77 year old citizen, is in critical condition. Four other patients are in critical condition. At the moment we have 868 people in quarantine, more than 2419 citizens have been instructed to self-isolate and I hope they are all following the rules.
Regarding the geography of the spread of the infections. Currently we have coronavirus cases in the capital Yerevan, the Armavir, Ararat, Aragatsotn, Kotayk, Syunik, Shirak and Lori regions (marzes). We know the origins of the majority of cases. As we have said before, we have had three developing clusters of coronavirus infections - the Iran, Etchmiadzin and Yerevan factory branches.
We have been able to stop the Etchmiadzin and Iran branches from spreading. And now we are fighting to stop the Yerevan factory branch. However, our March 23 analysis showed that it is possible the Yerevan factory branch has had an unmanageable, unpredictable development. We have registered new cases in other factories in Yerevan and Charentsavan which has led us to implement stricter restrictions for a week.
Therefore, starting today and for at least a week, new restrictions will be implemented in the country. This means that thousands of enterprises will stop working and only companies of essential importance will be allowed to continue their operations. People’s movement will be allowed for only vital reasons. Citizens on the street should be able to provide a clear explanation as to where they are going and that explanation should show that it corresponds to the understanding of primary need. Every citizen outside [on the streets], should have an identification card. The Special Commission will set up a mandatory form to be filled out by citizens. The Special Commission has already published the list of authorized activities and movements that are of primary necessity and I do not consider it necessary to repeat them. I will only mention that starting today and for at least one week, all restaurants and cafes will be closed. Grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will be open and even though citizens will be allowed to go to the shops, pharmacies and banks, I would like to ask you, as much as possible, to use online services. Dear compatriots, I understand that many of you do not have experience using online services, this is an opportunity to learn the tools of the modern world. Especially given that these services will make your lives more comfortable not only in the conditions of a pandemic but also afterwards.
I also want to apologize to all of you for these restrictions and the inconveniences. I hope, however, that it is clear for everyone that this is being done for you and especially to guarantee the safety of the cornerstones of our society - our grandmothers, grandfathers, our elderly.
I want to also mention that for this very reason, all pensioners who receive their pensions in cash, do not need to go to the post office this month and will have their pensions delivered to them by HayPost employees. It has also been established that all shops, pharmacies and banks will only serve people above the age of 65 between 10 a.m until 12 noon every day. I call on everyone else to refrain from shopping at those times.
My plea to all of you is to take this very seriously, leave your homes only for essential needs, have an ID on you, do not get together with more than two people, maintain hygiene standards and follow the orders of the Health Ministry.
The IMF has already registered that there will be a downturn in the economy in 2020, worse than the 2008-2009 recession. Our predictions for the time being are positive, but it is obvious that we will lose whatever ground we gained in 2018-2019. We want to look at this not as a tragedy, but as an opportunity to improve our rankings in the world economy. It is estimated that the downturn will cost global markets 3 billion dollars in GDP. That is how much space will open up in the international market and Armenia must secure its place in this gap and do so in the next five years. We have set our sights to occupy one percent of the markets. The whole world is impressed by the talents of the Armenian entrepreneur, it is thanks to this talent that at times of crisis such as this one, the Armenian market did not have any deficit in goods and will not have any. This is something many of the developed countries of the world can not boast about.
I want to register that the government has taken concrete steps to assist the competitive and prospective sectors of our businesses. The first of these assistance packages will be ratified during the government session this Thursday.
In general, the government will allocate 150 billion AMD, not only to withstand this crisis but to prepare victories in the post-crisis situation.
We will implement a comprehensive incentive package for agricultural production. All interest payments on new loans given to the agricultural sector will be subsidized by the government; special conditions will be created for newly established and productive agricultural cooperatives. Agricultural productivity must not stop, I call on all our farmers to continue their spring work because according to the decision of the Special Commission, this is considered an essential branch.
The upcoming session of the government will also ratify a special package aimed at neutralizing potential issues relating to problems of liquidity for businesses. It will help maintain the necessary liquidity of enterprises, to preserve jobs and pay salaries.
The government continues its work on making the 25 billion AMD social benefit package more targeted and effective.
Our work will not stop, we will continue to invest in new ideas, packages, programs, and possibilities to assist working people in this time of crisis. This is beyond and above any doubt.
I also want to invite your attention to another fact: Self-isolation is a convenient time to read, to think, to plan our future that we have dreamed of and to work up the resolve to make that future a reality. This is a time for self-reflection, to put aside our bad behavior. It is at times like these when we understand how vulnerable we are, to understand how unhealthy lifestyle choices lead to challenges.
Stop smoking, lose weight, eat light, run or bike in the morning, exercise, avoiding team sports and of course keep 10 meters of social distance at least in the coming week.
I urge all to take advantage of this time to change our attitudes towards others in a positive way. To consider our country as our hearth, considering everyone as members of our family, I urge you to read, to think about the future and about what each of us will do for our country and don’t look for sympathy or charity from others, but their respect, their admiration and love.
Keep your head high, your spirits high. This is also about our doctors who are fighting a selfless fight against coronavirus, thanks to all the health professionals in the country, the police force , the National Security Service, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, governmental agencies, members of the private sector and all the volunteers who are supporting our doctors and helping in the fight against the virus. And special thanks to our soldiers, officers and generals, who at times like these are safeguarding the security of our motherland.
And finally, I want to end my address with good news: Four of our compatriots who were infected with coronavirus have recovered and 37 who were in quarantine, have been allowed to go home. We will step-by-step conquer coronavirus.
I wish health to our infected citizens, patience to all those in quarantine and we will overcome this calamity."
March 24, 4 p.m.
Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, who is also the Warden of the State Commission on the State of Emergency, announced the suspension of all business activity in Armenia until midnight March 31, with a number of exceptions including those businesses and organizations that can carry out operations exclusively via remote or online.
Those exceptions are:
- Certain types of catering services, including canteens on the premises of businesses/organizations that are permitted to operate, while complying with the mandatory requirements of sanitary standards.
- Upon request of the State Commission and the order of the Ministry of Health, certain businesses and organizations, prohibited by this new decision, may be asked to provide appropriate services to help in the prevention of the spread of coronavirus and neutralizing its consequences or for other specific purposes.
- Automated machines that require coins, including photographic machines, weights, pressure gauges and other self-service terminals operated by coins.
The following restrictions apply to certain businesses/organizations that are allowed to operate during the state of emergency:
-Telecommunication companies may provide online or remote services and only in case of urgent need, should service be provided via delivery.
-Delivery of utilities, such as electricity, gas, and water supply, sewage/waste management must operate with the minimum required personnel to carry out emergency operations if necessary. Applications from individuals and legal entities to be accepted exclusively by telephone or online.
-Financial and insurance companies and services shall be minimized to ensure cash flow and address the urgent needs of individuals and legal entities.
The Minister of Economy Tigran Khachatryan shall supervise the process of providing clarifications to business entities regarding the requirements of this decision.
The Chief of Police Arman Sargsyan and Chairman of the State Revenue Committee David Ananyan shall:
1) ensure that the economic entities are in compliance with the requirement of this decision;
2) provide information to the Special Commission on the current situation, in accordance with the requirements set by the Commission on March 18, 2020.
Members of the Government, Heads of the bodies subject to the Government, Heads of bodies subject to the Prime Minister, Heads of local self-government bodies shall ensure the implementation of this decision:
-Annul the March 23 decision of the Special Commission. This decision shall enter into force on the date of its publication.
There are exceptions to the temporarily prohibited types of economic activity throughout the Republic of Armenia;
Businesses such as supermarkets, pharmacies can continue to operate in places such as shopping malls which have been shut down. The following types of businesses/manufacturing/production can continue to operate:
1) Agriculture, forestry and fishing
2) Mining industry and operation of pits
3) Food production
4) Beverage production
5) Manufacturing of hygienic and household paper products
6) Production of enriched uranium
7) Manufacturing of soaps and detergents, cosmetics, perfumes
8) Production of basic pharmaceutical products
9) Manufacturing of basic metals
10) Manufacturing of weapons and ammunition
11) Manufacturing of radiofrequency, electro-medical and electrotherapeutic equipment
12) Manufacturing of other special purpose vehicles
13) Manufacturing of combat vehicles
14) Manufacturing of medical and dental instruments and apparatus
15) Repair and maintenance of X-ray, electro-medical and electrotherapeutic equipment
16) Supply of electricity, gas, steam and cool air
17) Water supply, sewage, waste management and recycling
18) Blasting operations
19) Preparation of site for mining operations
20) Exploratory drilling
21) Collection of electrical, water and other engineering systems
22) Agents engaged in trading of agricultural raw materials, live animals, textiles and semi-finished products
23) Activities of agents engaged in trading of fuel, ores, metals and chemicals of industrial importance
24) Activities of food, beverage and tobacco agents
25) Wholesale of agricultural raw materials and live animals
26) Wholesale of food, beverages and tobacco
27) Wholesale of perfumes and cosmetics
28) Wholesale of pharmaceutical products
29) Other specialized wholesale trade
30) Retail sales in non-specialized stores
31) Retail sale of food, beverages and tobacco products in specialized stores
32) Retail sale of motor fuel in specialized stores
33) Retail sale of drugs in pharmacies
34) Retail sale of medical and orthopedic products in specialized stores
35) Retail sale of liquid petroleum fuels, gas cylinders, coal and firewood in specialized stores
36) Retail sale of funeral supplies in specialized stores
37) Retail sale of foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco products in kiosks and markets
38) Cargo transportation and delivery through pipelines
39) Air transport activities
40) Warehousing and transport ancillary activities
41) Postal and courier activities
42) Hotel and similar accommodation services
43) Production and broadcasting of television programs
45) Provision of news and information
46) Financial and insurance activity
47) Veterinary activities
48) Car rental and leasing
49) Ensuring security and conducting investigations
50) Comprehensive activity of auxiliary services
51) Cleaning work
52) State Administration and Protection; compulsory social security
53) Health and social services for people
54) Washing, cleaning and dry cleaning of textile and fur products
55) Funeral services and other related services
56) Activities of foreign organizations
March 24, 4 p.m.
During a press conference, the Chairman of the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition, Gegham Gevorgyan spoke about the availability of food and other essential products in Armenia. He noted that currently there is no shortage of these products and that imports are being conducted as scheduled through the Upper Lars (Russia-Georgia) checkpoint, which is open now for cargo transportation. He urged citizens to avoid doing unnecessary shopping and said that monitoring conducted by the Commission has shown that purchases in major supermarkets has fallen in the last few days.
Speaking about the availability of medicinal alcohol and hand sanitizer (alcogel), Gevorgyan noted these two products are available in all of the major pharmacies in Armenia. He went on to say that because of the fluctuations of the U.S. dollar, the price of medicinal alcohol has slightly increased, the fluctuations did not affect the price of hand sanitizers. Similar to food products, the demand for hand sanitizers, when coronavirus just started spreading, was much higher than now (because people unnecessarily bought much).
The Commission also conducted product price monitoring from February 26 to March 23 to make sure that any price increase is justified and is connected with fluctuations of the U.S. dollar ($1 increased from 478 AMD to 495 AMD within the mentioned period) and Russian ruble (₽1 decreased from 7.3 to 6.1 within the mentioned period). Although monitoring of agricultural products does not fall into the Commission’s scope of responsibilities, taking into account public interest and demand, they conducted monitoring of agricultural products as well. Gevorgyan explained that because March is the month of agricultural greenhouse products, the Commission recorded price increases of certain agricultural products, such as tomato and cucumber (which was the case every year). Lentil, rice, buckwheat, oil, butter, sausage, milk, sour cream are also among the products that have been monitored between February 26 and March 23, and major price increases have not been recorded. Flour is among the products that the Commission has received complaints about from citizens, and the Commission has been in contact with major producers, who clarified that the price change is primarily connected with the increase of wheat price.
Speaking about medical masks, Gevorgyan noted that the market of medical masks worldwide is very unstable and because Armenia does not produce them locally, any increase is being reflected in the price of medical masks sold at pharmacies.
March 24, 2:30 p.m.
A sitting of the Special Commission convened today to discuss further restrictions in the country. Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan said that for the next seven days, only services and shops of primary importance, and pharmacies will be allowed to operate in the country. Avinyan said: “Measures we have taken have so far been effective and the purpose of resorting to seven days of stricter regulations is to continue being able to maintain supervision and to continue to develop the tools which will allow us to detect and prevent the spread of the infection.” The Deputy Prime Minister also announced that there will be restrictions on movement for Armenian citizens and that everyone must continue self-isolating.
March 24, 12 p.m.
Jora Sargsyan, Head of the Labor and Employment Agency at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs held a press conference earlier today. Speaking of stipulations in the labor law that regulate employee-employer relations, Sargsyan said that Article 107 of the Labor Code regulates situations when an employee is left idle not by his/her fault, and in those circumstances, how the payment system should work. The law stipulates that in similar cases, the employer has the right to modify the employee’s responsibilities according to their profession. In instances when this is not viable, the law stipulates that the employer should compensate the employee in the amount of the minimum hourly wage.
However, another article of the Labor Code, Article 186.6 references cases where there are unforeseen circumstances that cannot be overcome (force majeure). In these cases, the employer is not required to compensate the employee. Taking into consideration that there are certain discrepancies between these two articles of the Labor Code, Sargyan said that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is working on a draft law, which is still in the discussion stage, to regulate the situation during the state of emergency.
Some of the proposed regulations in the draft amendments to the Labor Code are the following:
As Armenia’s labor code does not mention or regulate remote working (Article 98 of the Code does refer to working from home, however, it refers to instances when it is initially agreed upon between the employer and employee.) And since remote working is when employees, due to a given circumstance, are obliged to change the place of their work. The draft amendments stipulate that:
- If the nature of the work or the hours do not change, payment should be made in full.
- A change in the location and regimen of employment, in essence, is a change in the service contract between the employee and the employer, which the current law stipulates should be agreed upon ahead of time. Given the circumstance, the draft law suggests to forgo the given stipulation of the Labor Code and not fine the employer in case of non-compliance (giving prior notice). According to Sargsyan, the proposed regulation is meant to give the employer flexibility to more freely adjust the work schedule or hours the employee is expected to put in.
The current Labor Code allows the employer to fire an employee for unjustified absence or for being late; amendments to the Labor Code will see this stipulation amended for the duration of the state of emergency.
For the duration of the state of emergency, employees with school children who have to stay home because schools are closed, cannot be fined, have their salaries reduced or be fired for being late or not going to work. In cases when the employer is able to offer full employment and the employee is unable to go to work or is late, then the employee is paid according to the hours they put in at the physical place of employment.
In cases when the employee is late up to two hours because of the closure of academic institutions in the country, then for the duration of the state of emergency, they are paid in full. If the parent is late more than two hours, then they will be paid as per the hours they put in. These stipulations are for parents with children up to 14 years of age.
In cases when overtime is required, the current law stipulates that overtime cannot be more than four hours in two consecutive days. For the duration of the state of emergency the draft law suggests raising this time from four to eight hours.
In cases when the work in not possible to do either from the place of employment or remotely,
if the employee has paid vacation days, the draft law encourages the employee to use them in this period. According to Sargsyan, this is to free the employer from financial burden and to later give them the opportunity to get back to work in full capacity after the state of emergency is lifted.
Replying to a question about employers forcing employees to take unpaid leave, Sargsyan said that according to the Labor Code, with the exception of a few instances mentioned in the law, when in employer is obliged to grant the employee and unpaid leave, there generally needs to be a two sided agreement between the employer and the employee for unpaid leave (up to 60 days), it can not be a one-sided decision. As such, according to Sargsyan, the employer can not force the employee to be on unpaid leave.
March 23, 8 p.m.
The Director of Emergency Medical Services for Yerevan, Taguhi Stepanyan, held a press conference, answering several questions submitted by media representatives.
In response to a question on whether the EMS was operating in emergency mode, she replied that the EMS is always operating in emergency mode. However, call volumes have actually decreased from 900-950 calls/day in January and February to 700-750 calls/day under the current state of emergency. The main reasons for calls continue to be heart-related and respiratory-related concerns and other injuries, as is typical. Calls related specifically to respiratory-related concerns have also decreased from 150-220 calls/day in January and February to 100-140 calls/day in March.
Mrs. Stepanyan said that there are currently no ambulance workers in self-isolation. Three were initially under quarantine after coming into contact with the first confirmed patient in Armenia, but were released after 14 days, not having contracted COVID-19. All three have returned to work.
Mrs. Stepanyan urged citizens not to call the ambulance emergency number (003 in Armenia) to simply request a test for coronavirus if they are not experiencing dire symptoms. Instead, they should first call their family doctor in order to keep ambulances available to respond to critical emergencies.
March 23, 4p.m.
During a press conference, Deputy Chief of Police Hayk Mhryan said that the police have been working in a number of directions, in two stages. The first stage, which started on February 23, was escorting Iranian cargo trucks from the Armenia-Iran border checkpoint to the required terminal destination. Mhryan said that their mission was to ensure Iranian truck drivers did not come into contact with Armenian citizens. Police officers have escorted around 459 trucks. The other area of their work was helping to quarantine potential COVID-19 carriers in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Police forces were involved in the quarantining at the Golden Palace Hotel (in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor), the Nork Infectious Clinical Hospital, the 75-person staff of the Armenian Aeronautic Aviation Company (Հայաէրոնավիգացիա ՓԲԸ) in their building on the grounds of Zvartnots International Airport and the quarantine of the Renco staff (the factory in Yerevan). Police have been permanently supervising the grounds of all the quarantine sites.
The second stage began after the government imposed a state of emergency in the country. As a result, their permanent supervision of quarantine sites increased with an additional ten posts, all posts work 24/7. “In addition, we also patrol citizens who are in self-isolation. This is done through keeping in telephone contact with them,” Mhryan said. “After we receive the information from the Ministry of Health, we call each one every four hours and if there are health concerns, we immediately notify the Health Ministry.” The lists are updated daily in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Police also implemented the shut down of the city of Etchmiadzin, with 28 checkpoints, three of them being controlled checkpoints and the remaining 25 patrol stations forbidding any movement. Any citizen found to have high temperature by the checkpoint staff was instructed to return home, the data added to the list and the person later remained under surveillance.
The Special Commission on the state of emergency has also tasked the police to work with local self-government bodies to identify businesses organizing funerals, to make sure that the number of people attending funerals does not exceed 20. So far, police have sent 1351 notifications to entertainment and funeral centers. As of March 22, 115 funeral services were held in accordance with the set rules. The police also sent notifications to those businesses whose activities are temporarily suspended in accordance with the regulations set out by the state of emergency Commission.
Police are also working with those media outlets and social media users, who have posted information about coronavirus developments in the country that contradict official information. To date, police have asked 22 media outlets to take down contradictory posts.
The Deputy Chief of Police also said they are closely following the guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the virus and that the temperature of those working in the police force is checked daily. Those who have temperatures must self-isolate. All police cars and stations are being disinfected, police officers are also required to carry disinfectants and protective gear. Some police officers have been tested, there is one officer in self-isolation with his family.
The police will also implement the amendments and changes to the Code of Administrative Violations and the Criminal Code adopted by parliament earlier today.
Starting March 20, the police are implementing stricter surveillance on public transport to make sure there is no overcrowding. On March 20 alone, more than 70 cases of overcrowding in public transport were registered.
March 23, 12:15 p.m.
In order to minimize contact, Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan in a Facebook post called on supermarkets to serve only pensioners from 10 a.m. to 12 noon starting on March 24. He also called on Armenia’s population to refrain from shopping at these hours to safeguard the health of the country’s senior citizens.
March 23, 12 p.m.
During a press conference, Deputy Minister of Economy Varos Simonyan said that a number of restrictions on businesses will come into force today based on the decision of the Special Commission on the state of emergency and will be applicable throughout the whole country.
These restrictions do not apply to supermarkets, pharmacies and shops selling agricultural produce. Bars, nightclubs and similar establishments selling alcohol, cinemas, gambling or betting organizations as well as sporting, entertainment and recreational activities and other services (with the exception of funeral homes) will have to cease operations. These restrictions do not apply to cafes, online gambling sites or sale of beverages from mobile points.
Simonyan said that the ministry is ready to personally advise businesses on whether or not they fall under these restrictions. He also said that restrictions that come into force today may possibly be extended in the future or possibly lifted sooner depending on the situation. These restrictions will be enforced until the end of the state of emergency.
The Deputy Minister stated that a number of goods, including medicine and other products necessary in the current situation, will be imported to Armenia from the Eurasion Economic Union tax free. This was the initiative of the Armenian government and will stay in force until September 30 and possibly longer, if necessary. This decision will come into force ten days after its final ratification.
According to the Deputy Minister, some restrictions on cargo imported from Iran were lifted and that process is being regulated. A list, which includes humanitarian aid and products necessary for both Armenia’s and Iran’s economy was drawn up. Simonyan said that while cargo transport was completely halted earlier, it is now open for all the items on the approved list although it is being carried out using special procedures. These procedures are available on the Armenian government’s official website. The cargo is either accompanied into the [territory of Armenia] or is loaded off at the Meghri or Agarag checkpoint warehouses and is being conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and the police.
The Deputy Minister noted that the approved list of merchandise allowed into Armenia is being updated daily depending on the needs of businesses and the country’s economy.
The list of items allowed between Armenia and Iran include diesel oil, medical products, protective glasses, masks, single use chemicals, protective medical jumpsuits. Any merchandise that has medical use, needs the written consent of the Ministry of Health before it can be exported.
The border with Georgia is open to cargo transportation. “We do have certain issues with the number of cars that have accumulated on the Georgian side at the Upper Lars checkpoint. This is due to the heavy snowfall in the area,” Simonyan said.
The Ministry of Economy Questionnaire
In collaboration with the Business Support Office and the Investment Support Center, the Ministry of Economy is trying to identify issues being faced by businesses and companies related to the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency situation in Armenia. A questionnaire was developed for this purpose.
The Ministry is asking businessowners to fill in the questionnaire, to be as honest as possible and provide as much information as possible so that the government can develop effective evidence-based tools to address the issues.
March 23, 11 a.m.
During the second reading, Armenia’s National Assembly unanimously voted in favor of the proposed amendments and changes to the Code of Administrative Violations and the Criminal Code. Following the first reading on March 20, Bright Armenia and Prosperous Armenia factions submitted recommendations, most of which were included in the amendments.
Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan presented the proposed changes, which include amending Article 183 (8) of the Code of Administrative Violations, which, instead of “mass media organizations” will use the terminology “organizations conducting media activity” (to have a more comprehensive approach and make sure that the platforms disseminating information and have a wide reach are also included). If information, which is published in violation of the rules set out by the text of the state of emergency, is not deleted within one day after the notification, then a fine of 500 to 1000 times the minimum salary will be imposed. With the proposed changes, the terms quarantine and self-isolation are also more clearly defined.
According to the recommendations, it is also proposed to amend the Article 277 of the Criminal Code. Violating the rules of quarantine/self-isolation or other restrictions on free movement during the state of emergency, which negligently result in a person being infected, then a fine of 300 to 500 times the minimum salary or detention for a maximum of one month will be imposed. If violating the rules negligently results in grave consequences for a person’s health (such as organ failure), then a fine of 500 to 700 times the minimum salary, detention between one to three months or imprisonment for a maximum of two years will be imposed. If the violation results in a death, then the person may be imprisoned between two to four years.
Once the final text of the amendments are made public, EVN Report will provide further details.
March 23, 10 a.m.
To prevent the spread of coronavirus in Armenia, the Special Commission for the state of emergency has expanded the list of highly affected countries. Foreign nationals who are citizens of the highly affected countries or in the last 14 days have been in those states are banned from entering the territory of Armenia (with the exception of representatives of diplomatic missions, consulates and international organizations, and their family members). Below is the list of countries:
March 22, 10 p.m.
The Interdepartmental Organizational Council headed by the Prime Minister of Georgia has decided that only the Sadakhlo border crossing (between Armenian and Georgia) will remain open for Armenian and Gerogian citizens wishing to return home.
Note, the Sadakhlo border checkpoint only operates between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
All Armenian-Georgian border checkpoints are open for cargo transportation without restrictions.
March 22, 4 p.m.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Armenian Red Cross will make one month and three month food and hygien packages available for 1400 citizens in need. The packages will mainly go to elderly people living alone and people with disabilities including Syrian-Armenian refugees and people in social housing.
March 22, 9 a.m.
The Commission on the state of emergency issued a statement this morning with regard to a number of organizations [public circles] abroad that have launched fundraising drives to support the army’s medical needs. The State of Emergency Commission has said that this is unacceptable and that they urge and demand that these organizations refrain from such activities and from speculating in the name of the armed forces.
The statement went on to say: “We assure you that the Armed Forces are provided with the necessary supplies and equipment and do not need any additional assistance or support. Please refrain from participating in any fundraising initiative that is purportedly being done on behalf of or for the Ministry of Defense.”
March 21, 1 p.m.
The State Commission overseeing the state of emergency has set up several hotlines that will operate 24-hours a day for people to call if they have any questions.
For those living abroad: +374 11208141
For health-related questions: 060 838300
March 22, 6:45 p.m.
The Commission on the state of emergency has announced that in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the following business establishments will be forbidden from operating from March 22 until the end of the state of emergency [April 14]:
- Shopping centers, with the exception of supermarkets and small shops selling beverages, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products.
- Bars, nightclubs, dance halls
- Bookmaker and betting service offices
The Commission is making every effort to secure the safety of our people, to mobilize the power of the Armenian nation and to overcome the challenges facing all of us..
March 20, 9 p.m.
A special sitting of the National Assembly is being held to discuss a package of draft laws tabled by the government of Armenia "On Additions to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia" and "On Additions to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Armenia" to apply administrative or criminal liability in case of non-compliance with the requirements of quarantine or self-quarantine in a state of emergency.
March 20, 8 p.m.
In response to concerns and criticism raised about media restrictions under the state of emergency (which came into force on March 16), Armenia’s government has made a number of amendments to the provision (N.298) on the dissemination of information as outlined in the state of emergency document.
In the original document, social media users and mass media would face administrative fines for posting unverified news and information on the spread of COVID-19. They were instructed to use reports only from the State Commission responsible for the administration of the state of emergency (being headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan). With the amendments to the provision, social media users and media outlets can now also refer to:
1) reports made by public officials or references to their reports;
2) Links to the official websites of heads of state, government bodies and/or their representatives, and official social networking sites;
3) Links to the official websites of international organizations accredited in the Republic of Armenia and/or affiliated with the Republic of Armenia on their official websites and social networks.
March 19, 8 p.m.
Armenia’s Finance Minister Tigran Khachatryan gave a press conference this evening to talk about the economic situation in the country as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the government’s stimulus package.
Khachatryan said that the government will be offering considerable financial assistance to 1) businesses who have found themselves in a difficult position due to the situation but also have plans and ideas about how to overcome these difficulties; 2) people who are now in a vulnerable position because of a temporary loss of income; 3) after the country comes out of this crisis, and the government is in a position to consider development programs once the situation has stabilized, the government has earmarked funds to provide assistance to those companies that can articulate their own development projects.
According to Khachatryan, three main industries suffered the first blow because of this situation - the tourism industry, exporters who had a market in Russia who are now in a disadvantageous position because of the drop in the price of oil and the devaluation of the ruble, and for the same reason the drop in the price of copper in the world market (going from 6800 USD/ton to 4800 USD/ton) which has also affected Armenia’s copper industry.
Taking into consideration that these industries have a considerable share in Armenia’s state budget, Khachatryan said the government understands the importance of sustaining these industries. He also made assurances, however, that no industry would be left out of their range of view.
The agreement reached between the Eurasian Economic Union member states to eliminate customs duties for the import of medicine and medical supplies has been initiated by Armenia. It extends to all medicine and medical supplies imported from third countries and is valid for six months, the Minister of Economy said.
“Armenia's competitive advantage in the post-Coronavirus economy will be that the government will spare no effort in rapidly identifying the new windows of opportunity and our businesses, in their efforts to adjust to these new realities, will have the support of the government, especially businesses with proposals to cover new positions [in the world],” Khachatryan said.
“It would seem that the drop of the price of oil in the world would have a favorable effect on Armenia’s economy since we import oil, but on the other hand, the drop in the price of copper has had a negative effect on our economy. Also, Russia, one of our main business partners, is directly dependent on the world oil market, here too our exports have suffered the consequences of that instability.”
Khachatryan said that the Coronavirus outbreak will have a short-term negative effect on Armenia’s economy, “which we already are experiencing.” He noted that daily economic life has already been interrupted at places. “But I’m sure the lessons learned will leave their mark and we will come out of this situation with a reinforced economy. All businesses who are able to manage the risks will be able to come up with new approaches and by doing so, step into the future with more self assurance.”
March 19, 7:40 p.m.
The government has decided to restrict the export of a number of medical supplies from the Republic of Armenia. The export of medical supplies will be allowed by the State Revenue Committee only on the basis of a written consent by the Ministry of Health. The decision also extends to medical supplies that are at the customs clearance stage and all supplies have already been cleared for export up until the date of the decision.
March 19, 3:40p.m.
The Ministry of Finance created a treasury account to support measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Armenia. The State Commission responsible for the state of emergency announced that in line with numerous inquiries from citizens and organizations, they are expanding the scope of target areas that will now include:
- Bonuses for medical staff
- Medical supplies and equipment
- Improvement of conditions of medical facilities
- Social safety net such as:
- Food, means of individual protection and other essentials for socially vulnerable and high-risk groups, including those with disabilities
- Supplies required for the operation of volunteer support groups
To ensure public accountability and transparency, the public will be regularly informed about the amount of funds received and the areas covered.
While making a transaction, indicate the purpose as follows: “Support for the fight against coronavirus disease.” You may also indicate where you would like your funds to be directed to.
Recipient: Central Treasury of the Republic of Armenia
Treasury Account Number: 900005001947
March 19, 11:05 a.m.
During a session of government, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that their goal is not only to restore the economy to its pre-crisis position, but move forward with bigger ambitions in the post-crisis environment. “This is what informs the logic of our actions,” he noted adding that they will implement development projects, injecting support into the economy, while perhaps also concentrating on the reform agenda which was already adopted. “Of course, this crisis will also reveal certain social challenges and we will initiate a response to address those social challenges,” he said, emphasizing that it is important that those social programs are effective, fair and directed to the appropriate people in need.
Pashinyan said the economic assistance program should not be “humanitarian assistance” to the economy but rather a chance for the economy to develop and increase its competitiveness and any program that falls short of those goals will not be of interest to the government. “The government will not give into panic, the government will not make emotional, uncalculated decisions, the government will double check each of its decisions to make sure they serve a development purpose,” said Pashinyan. “In this restructured world, Armenia should present itself with a new image.”
At this stage, an emergency package of approximately 25 billion AMD funds will go to support businesses. Another package of 25 billion AMD will be designated for social assistance programs, to be used as needed. Approximately 80 billion AMD will be placed in a foundation, which will be aimed at restructuring the economy in accordance with the post-crisis situation.
Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan presented the economic aid package. He said that the plan is to create “financial cushions” to support businesses through times of irregular consumption in order to mitigate potential losses. A number of credit programs have been designed, that include:
1 - Co-financing of credit;
2 - Refinancing of credit;
3 - Interest rate subsidization.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, this will allow businesses to remain in a “holding position,” not be weighed down by interest payments, navigate currency fluctuation risks, keep their employees and be able to take care of utility expenses.
Speaking of food supplies in the country, the Prime Minister said Armenia has more than enough supplies. He presented the numbers from two days ago and said he also has information that a large number of products are still being imported (e.g. 18 tons of cooking oil, 220 tons of sugar, 145 tons of wheat, 20 tons of chickpeas, frozen meat, etc.)
Relevant government members provided further information about the current availability of other goods:
Sugar: sufficient for 201 days
Chicken meat: 64 days
Oil: 38 days
Diesel: 45 days
Gasoline: three month supply
Medicinal alcohol: daily production of 11 tons
Wheat and flour: in sufficient supply, no need for new purchases
Agricultural greenhouse produce (e.g. tomatoes and cucumbers): in sufficient supply with large producers. If there is an increase in demand, the Special Commission has the right to ask the producer to stop exports and direct the produce to the domestic market.
March 19, 10:30 a.m.:
The State Commission implementing and overseeing the state of emergency, issued the following statement:
The government of Armenia declared a state of emergency applicable to the entirety of the country starting from March 16 until April 14. We call on everyone to unconditionally follow the decisions and instructions of the government and the subsequent decisions of the Special Commission and the instructions of relevant institutions.
At the same time we would like to remind you that Article 182.3 of the RA Code on Administrative Offenses establishes responsibility for violating the rules of the state of emergency.
Violation of the laws of entry and exit into or from the area under a state of emergency is punishable by a fine equivalent to 50 to 70 times the minimum wage.
Violation of the provisional directive (special order) on the sale, acquisition and turnover of foodstuffs and essentials established by the Government of the Republic of Armenia during the state of emergency is punishable by a fine ranging from one hundred to three hundred times the minimum wage.
Violation of law on prohibition of strikes and noncompliance with measures/decisions to suspend or terminate the activities of legal entities during a state of emergency is punishable by a fine equivalent to 50 to 200 times the minimum wage.
Violation of the restrictions on the movement of vehicles and impeding their inspection during a state of emergency is punishable by a fine equivalent to 50 to 100 times the minimum wage.
Mass media publications, reports that do not comply with the requirements of the state of emergency, are punishable by a fine equivalent to 500 to 800 times the minimum wage.
March 18, 6:05 p.m.:
Restrictions on movement to and from the city of Vagharshapat (Echmiadzin) and temperature checkpoints will be removed starting at 8 p.m. (the evening of March 18). The decision was made taking into consideration the infection has not spread further than the infection hub established in the city about a week ago.
March 18, 4:00 p.m.:
During a press conference, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anna Naghdalyan reaffirmed the Ministry’s earlier recommendation to Armenian citizens to avoid travelling abroad. For those currently travelling, Naghdalyan urged them to be in contact with Armenia’s diplomatic missions abroad; if Armenia does not have a representation in a specific country, then to be in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through their hotline (055 620 111).
As of today, the agreement between the governments of Armenia and Russia came into force, which limits air and border communication between the two countries (this does not apply to cargo transportation). Naghdalyan clarified that citizens of Armenia, their relatives, as well as those with residence permits can return to Armenia from Russia. Also, today the decision of the Georgian government came into force, which restricts the travel of foreign nationals to Georgia. According to the agreement between the governments of Armenia and Georgia, restrictions do not apply to cargo transportation between the two countries.
The land border crossing between Georgia and Russia at Upper Lars has been closed because of poor weather conditions, prohibiting cargo transportation destined to Armenia and vice versa. Naghdalyan noted that this has caused concern among Armenians, but they are hopeful that once weather conditions improve, Armenian cargo drivers will be able to transfer goods through the checkpoint. Armenian citizens in Russia, who want to return to Armenia via land, will not be permitted to cross through the Upper Lars checkpoint because, as mentioned earlier, Georgia has banned all foreigners from entering their country. The only way Armenian citizens in Russia can return to Armenia is via air (there are a number of flights from several Russian cities to Armenia that are operating).
Speaking about the recent 30-day travel ban introduced by the European Union, which bans the travel of foreign nationals to EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, Naghdalyan urged citizens of Armenia to avoid making any plans to travel to the mentioned countries.
Naghdalyan also said that the last flight from Egypt to Armenia will take place on March 19 and urged all Armenian citizens in Sharm-el-Sheikh to make sure they are on that flight.
March 18, 12 p.m.:
During a press conference today, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arayik Harutyunyan spoke about what the Ministry has done to organize online classes during the state of emergency in Armenia. Article 21 of the text of the state of emergency clarifies that classes in all state, community and non-state educational (including kindergartens), pre-vocational (vocational), and higher education institutions will be suspended during the period of the state of emergency.
Minister Harutyunyan said that during the discussions with rectors of all higher educational institutions, it became clear that they have the technical capacity and measures in place to make sure that the continuity of the educational processes is maintained. He said that the Ministry will closely monitor the process.
Harutyunyan also explained how classes for secondary educational institutions (schools) will be organized during the state of emergency. He noted that some educational institutions and teachers have already started organizing online classes with students, even before the Ministry’s announcement. He went on to say that with the spread of COVID-19, millions of students globally have been deprived of the right to attend school, and some online educational platforms (which previously offered paid services/content) have made their content available to all users and that the Ministry is planning to use those sources as well. Harutyunyan said that online/distance learning in the next several weeks should be an opportunity to improve the educational system in general. The Ministry has created the heravar.armedu.am platform, where students can find information about all platforms offering online classes.
Harutyunyan also spoke about the need to retrain teachers, so that they are more prepared to utilize the offered resources. As part of distance learning, the Ministry is collaborating with Public TV, which every morning from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. will offer lectures and classes on various subjects. Also, the Ministry has an offer from UCOM, which plans to allocate an entire channel for online classes (it will be offered 24 hours a day). The Ministry is also working with teachers, who will record classes, to have as much content as possible for students. Within the next two weeks, the Ministry will closely monitor the process to see how effective distance learning is and whether there is a need to extend the duration of classes after the state of emergency.
During the Q/A session, Deputy Minister of Education Zhanna Andreasyan clarified that the Ministry understands that availability of technical resources by teachers or students should not be overlooked. She went on to say that understanding the problem of availability is the primary reason for collaborating with Public TV or UCOM, so that students have several available options to choose from. Andreasyan also said that the Ministry has made sure that students with various disabilities are not left out of the process and because distance learning offers visual content along with the written content, it would be more appealing to those students.
March 18, 12:45 p.m.:
Taking into consideration the State of Emergency imposed in Armenia, a number of airlines have decided to temporarily suspend flights (to and from Armenia) to certain destinations.
- Armenia Airways has cancelled flights from Armenia to the Islamic Republic of Iran, suspending air transport until March 31 (including March 31) and from April 1 until April 30, (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday flights).
- Armenia Airways has also canceled its March 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30 Yerevan-Anapa-Yerevan flights as well as the Monday and Thursday flights scheduled between April 2 to April 13.
- Ryanair has canceled its Yerevan-Rome and Yerevan-Milan flights and their returns from March 14 until April 8 (April 8 included).
- Aircompany Armenia has canceled its March 17-19, 22-31 and April 1-5 Tbilisi-Yerevan-Tbilisi/Vnukovo/-Yerevan-Tbilisi flights (with the exception of some flights, passengers should directly contact the airline company for further updates)
- Aircompany Armenia has canceled its March 23, 30 and April 2, 6, 9, 13 Yerevan-Lyon-Yerevan flights and its March 26, 29 and April 2, 5,16, 28 Yerevan-Tel Aviv-Yerevan flights.
- Qatar Airways has canceled its March 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28 and 31 Doha-Yerevan-Doha flights.
- Belavia Airlines has canceled its Minsk-Yerevan-Minsk flights scheduled for March 18, 19, and flights between March 31 to April 5, including its April 14 flight.
- Ural Airlines canceled its March 11,18, 25, 29-31, April 2, 5-7, 9, 12-14, 16, 19-21, 23, 26-28, 30 Yekaterinburg-Yerevan-Yekaterinburg flights.
- Air Cairo has canceled its March 12 and all Sharm El Sheikh-Yerevan- Sharm El Sheikh flights scheduled between March 19-31.
- AirArabia has canceled all flights between March 17 to 28 with the exception of the March 18 and the March 20 flights.
- Polish Airlines LOT has canceled all Warsaw-Yerevan-Warsaw flights until March 28.
- Ukrainian International Airlines has canceled the March 7, 18, 19, 29, 30, 31 and April 1 Kiev-Yerevan-Kiev flights.
- Middle East Airlines has canceled its March 21 and 24 Beirut-Yerevan-Beirut flights.
- Flydubai has canceled all Dubai-Yerevan-Dubai flights scheduled between March 18-31 (including March 31) with the exception of the March 23 and March 30 flights.
- SkyUp Airlines has canceled the March 20, 23, 27 Kiev-Yerevan-Kiev flights.
- Ausrtian Airlines cancelled all regular flights starting from March 18 including flights to Yerevan.
- Brussels Airlines canceled all flights between March 21 to April 19.
Taking into consideration the heavy load and the imposed state of emergency, the Civil Aviation Committee will do its best to update the list of cancelled flights.
At the same time, passengers are urged to keep in constant contact with their airlines.
March 17, 10:30 p.m.:
Large-scale commercial establishments must immediately undertake the following measures up to and including April 14, 2020 (5 p.m.):
Provide all employees with medical masks and disinfectants;
Regularly disinfect their premises and undertake measures to provide the necessary sanitary conditions;
Eliminate crowding and manage all queues.
March 17, 9:40 p.m.:
The food stored in community kindergartens will be distributed to economically vulnerable families. Taking into consideration the state of emergency, the responsible State Commission will, in collaboration with regional administrative centers allocate all food stored at community kindergartens to socially vulnerable families that are registered with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
March 17, 2 p.m.
RA citizens cannot leave RA territory through land borders, except those doing cargo transportation, such as drivers.
RA citizens, their family members (even if they are not RA citizens), persons registered and residing in Armenia may enter the territory of Armenia.
The entrance of those foreign nationals, who are citizens of highly affected countries or have been in such countries in the last 14 days will be banned (the list of such countries will be determined by the Special Commission).
Diplomatic representations, such as ambassadors, representatives of consulates and international organizations, and their family members will be able to enter the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
At the same time, the curfew regulations may, depending on the particular circumstances and in exceptional cases, decide to allow other persons to enter the territory of the Republic of Armenia, who are not allowed to enter in accordance with the conditions of the state of emergency.
People will be examined after they cross the border of Armenia.
If symptoms are present, hospitalization, isolation, self-quarantine and/or other restrictive measures will be implemented.
If a person refuses to comply, he or she may be temporarily quarantined at an appropriate place designated by the State commission, in order to be examined, treated and to prevent the spread of the infection;
If a person has entered Armenia from countries where the situation of the epidemic is critical, they will be transferred to specially designated quarantine sites or they may be instructed to quarantine themselves in their place of residence or other place of their choice, without direct contact with other people.
Although a state of emergency has been declared throughout the Republic of Armenia, restrictions will be enforced in the communities and territories determined by the commission. The following regime will be imposed on communities where it could be decided to introduce certain restrictions
A special procedure of entering and exiting from a community will be in force, which will be overseen by the police, representatives of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Emergency Situations, Health and Labor Inspectorate, Food Safety Inspectorate, regional administration and Community Council.
Entrances and exits will not be restricted if there is a need for essential supplies, food, medicine, fuel, and if there is a decision by the commission to address other urgent matters
Within the territories of a community people may be quarantined (self-quarantined), free movement of people will be regulated (hours of day, number of people, etc.)
Implementation of sanitary and anti-epidemic activities in the homes or location of people
If suspected or found to be infected, persons will be transported to specially designated quarantine sites.
It is prohibited to hold rallies and labor strikes in the territory of the Republic of Armenia. Also, the curfew may decide that in certain areas it is prohibited to organize public events, such as sports, cultural, educational, entertainment events, birthdays, weddings/engagements, funerals, and other events. Such events will be prohibited in the designated areas if 20 or more people participate.
All state, community and non-state educational (including kindergartens), pre-vocational (vocational), and higher education institutions will be suspended. This prohibition will not apply to online learning.
It will be prohibited to have visitation and send packages to penitentiary institutions, military units, mental health care centers, centers providing social services to senior citizens and children.
If people and mass media outlets want to post information on the Internet, including on social media outlets, regarding the already existing and new cases of coronavirus, the health status of those infected, sources of infection, or the number of those in quarantine, they should use only official information provided by the Special Commission by referencing it. Their publications cannot contradict official information.
The same also applies to information that results in panic or has the risk of panic. Such publications are subject to immediate removal by those who post them.
It is important to remember that violating the legal regime of the state of emergency, meaning not complying with the set regulations and limitations, will result in administrative fines, based on Article 182.3 of the RA Code on Administrative Offences.
March 17, 3:30 p.m.
Taking into account the wide geographical spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), we advise citizens of Armenia to strictly refrain from travelling abroad.
We inform citizens of Armenia currently planning to travel abroad that your trip might be suspended, given the measures and travel restrictions being undertaken by different countries to prevent the further spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We urge citizens of Armenia, who are planning to return to Armenia from a foreign country, to thoroughly check flight and transit possibilities in order to realistically assess the situation and make a reasonable decision whether to return to Armenia or stay in that country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the diplomatic service of the Republic of Armenia abroad will regularly provide up-to-date information on travel opportunities and restrictions imposed by different countries.
Diplomatic missions of Armenia abroad stand ready to support and assist our citizens abroad.
March 17, 4 p.m.
As of March 17, the entry of foreign nationals from 16 countries will be prohibited. All those Armenian citizens returning from these countries will be placed in a 14-day quarantine.
3. South Korea
15. The Netherlands
16. United Kingdom
Entry of truck drivers (plus one replacement driver) transporting cargo from these countries will not be restricted.
Also, all citizens of Armenia returning from foreign countries, must self-quarantine for 14 days. If any symptoms occur during self-quarantine, immediately call 060 838300 hotline.