Armenia declares 30-day state of emergency due to coronavirus
This decision was made during an emergency cabinet session held on March 16.
The state of emergency comes into effect from March 16 to April 14, 2020.
The entry ban for all foreign citizens was the most pressing issue during the discussion.
In order to completely eliminate the possibility of infected people entering the country, Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan proposed to completely ban all non-citizens from entering Armenia, no matter what country they come from.
However, Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan opposed Mnatsakanyan’s proposal. He argued that a complete ban on air traffic paralyzes cargo transportation, which is extremely dangerous for public health.
“How will they transport the rapid-result tests from China? By sea, and then by car? In concept, I’m not against the idea of completely closing the country, but we simply don’t have the potential to do so,” said Torosyan.
What restrictions will be put into effect?
The following restrictions will be in effect for the next month:
– Classes in all daycares and educational institutions, including sports academies and music conservatories, will be suspended.
– Cafes, restaurants, and shopping centers will be closed.
– Rallies, mass gatherings, and strikes will be prohibited.
– Organizing, holding and participating in public events will be prohibited.
– The ban applies to all events with more than 20 people in attendance, including religious ceremonies, concerts, exhibitions, and holiday events. Birthdays, engagements, weddings and funerals that will be attended by more than 20 people can be held only in places permitted by the commandant.
– The delivery of parcels to military units and prisons is also prohibited.
– Essential goods will be exported under the supervision of the ministers of economy and health. Each shipment can only be exported after obtaining consent from the the ministers of economy and health.
– Foreign citizens traveling from countries with high-risk of transmitting coronavirus will not be able to visit Armenia.
– Armenian citizens will not be able to leave the country via land routes.
However, all Armenian citizens will be able to return to their homeland. All family members of Armenian citizens will be able to return to Armenia, regardless of their citizenship.
To ensure adherence to the state of emergency, checkpoints will be established where doctors can examine people.
In a state of emergency, Armenian media is only allowed to report on official information. Local media are not allowed to post news that could trigger a panic.
The situation in Armenia
There are currently 52 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country. One person has already recovered. 19 are connected with the so-called “Etchmiadzin case,” in which the patient zero was a woman who had recently returned home from Italy.
Despite having a fever and other symptoms, she decided not to quarantine herself. In the 10 days before she was diagnosed, she attended several large events, including an engagement party. As a result, several dozen people at the party are now in quarantine, and some have already been diagnosed with the virus. Among the infected is a minor.