State of emergency extended in Armenia - no new restrictions but new rules of conduct
On May 14, the Armenian government decided to extend the state of emergency another month, until June 13.
This is due to the fact that the number of people infected with coronavirus continues to grow, and more than 100 new cases are reported per day.
Armenia initially declared the state of emergency on March 16, and it was only meant to be in effect for a month. On April 14, the government decided to extend the quarantine regime for another month.
However, on May 4, before the state of emergency is lifted, the government permitted free movement and most businesses reopened.
After that, the number of infections in the country began to increase sharply.
Meanwhile, there are now no new restrictions being imposed during the state of emergency. Moreover, the previous restrictions are being lifted. But the commandant’s office is introducing new rules of conduct, and threatening large fines if they are violated.
More information on what else will start working again, what violations are finable, and when the borders will reopen.
The Ministry of Health states that 184 new cases were reported on May 15. This is a new record for the number of new cases. There are 4,044 total infected people in the country. 1,666 of them have already recovered and discharged from hospitals. 52 people have died. A total of 37,476 tests have been performed.
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What is now permitted?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that the government will not introduce new restrictions, but will try to “convince people of the need to follow safety rules.”
The commandant’s office has already published the entire list of changes, or more precisely, what other restrictions have been lifted during the state of emergency.
- Starting May 18, the ban on public transport and the metro will be lifted. Special disinfection procedures have been introduced. Passengers will only be able to use public transport while wearing protective masks and gloves.
- Shopping centers will reopen.
- All businesses in the food and catering industry can reopen. Previously, only those cafes and restaurants that could serve customers in open areas were permitted to work.
- Gyms will reopen to the general public. Previously, they were only open to professional athletes.
- Historical and cultural attractions are now open.
- Daycares will reopen.
Moreover, schools and universities will remain closed, but daycares will reopen, since, as the commandant explained, “providing care for young children is a problem for working parents.”
Special safety regulations have been established for each sector.
New rules of conduct
From May 18, all residents of Armenia will need to wear protective masks in enclosed spaces. And from May 25, people will be required to wear masks at all times while outside.
Violators will be subject to a minimum fine of 100,000 drams ($200).
“I believe that it is necessary to be as strict as possible in this matter,” said the Deputy Prime Minister and the commandant during the state of emergency.
Tigran Avinyan says that people may also wear hand-made masks and even scarves.
The new rules state that a groups of up to five people will be able to take part in “public events.” However, the commandant’s office has not yet specified what qualifies as a public event.
Air traffic resumes
Regular flights from Russia to Armenia will resume on May 15.
“From May 15, regular flights will leave from Russia to Armenia every two days, which will allow our citizens to return to their homeland. All returnees must observe a strict regime of self-isolation,” said the commandant.
Flights from Armenia to European countries will also start up again. In particular, the low-cost airline WizzAir plans to resume these flights starting mid-June.
However, no decisions have yet been made on when to reopen land borders.
Commentary on social media
People on Armenian Facebook are actively discussing the new rules introduced by the commandant’s office.
Here are some of their comments:
“We need to tighten control! There are signs every saying ‘entry prohibited without masks and gloves,’ but even the workers themselves do not comply with these rules, let alone the customers. No one is adhering to any of the rules!”
“I suggest that on public transport, as in clinics, there should be someone who would measure the temperature of passengers. Those who have temperatures above normal should be prohibited from boarding public transport.”
“What do you mean masks? What do you mean social distance? There is usually nowhere to stand on and no air to breathe on public transport! What do you imagine the masks will do here?”
“Prolonged use of face masks causes a lack of oxygen in the blood, creating an extreme health risk!”