Sharp jump in coronavirus cases in Armenia as public transport and daycares reopen
The May 18 decision to reopen public transport in Armenia was accompanied by a sharp rise in the number of infections, with 351 new cases.
Public transport was shut down two months ago when the state of emergency was declared. It will be in effect until June 13, but public transport began running again so that people could get to work.
Starting May 4, almost all businesses shut down during the state of emergency were reopened. People have been going to work on foot, by taxi, or in their own cars, since public transport was declared to be the place with the highest risk of spreading the virus.
To minimize the risk of infection, the city hall has now set strict rules: all vehicles must be thoroughly disinfected, and all passengers must wear masks.
To help those who have returned to work, daycare centers will reopen starting May 20.
Now the Armenian government is moving towards minimizing restrictions and introducing new rules of conduct. In particular, this means wearing masks in all enclosed spaces starting March 18, and everywhere staring May 25.
As of May 18, Armenia has reported a total of 4,823 coronavirus cases. In a 24-hour period, 94 people recovered and one died. In total, there have been 61 coronavirus deaths in the country, 2718 are being treated, and 2019 have recovered. A total of 41,850 people have been tested.
Passengers without masks will not be let on public transport
In order to reduce the risk of spreading infection, the commandant introduced new rules for public transport.
Transportation companies will be held to particularly high standards. They are required to take numerous precautions, including buying disinfectants. And some of them have already stated that this could mean net losses for the business, which are better to avoid.
Passengers will only need to wear masks and disinfect their hands, and if possible, carry coins to pay for travel.
There should only be as many passengers as there are numbers of seats. From now on, standing will be prohibited on public transport except for in subway cars and on trolleybuses.
If any of these rules are violated, the police will be able to stop the vehicle and let the passengers off. And the driver or company that runs the route will have to pay a fine.
The city hall has already reported violations.
“At the moment, in 95% of cases when citizens see that all the seats are occupied they won’t board. In some cases, people begin to argue with the driver and want to ride standing. However, for the moment, they are instructed not to move until the passenger has left the vehicle,” said Yerevan First Deputy Mayor Hrachya Sargsyan.
He says that there are still very few passengers. In the coming days, the mayor’s office will decide whether to increase or decrease the number of routes. For the moment, there is no need to hire new buses.
Daycare centers are running, but not for everyone
Deputy Mayor of Yerevan Tigran Virabyan announced who would be allowed to bring their children to daycare:
“Priority will be given to those parents (in particular, mothers) who cannot take care of children at home because of their inability to work remotely. Low-income families will also be given precedence.
A survey was conducted among parents of 31 thousand children. The results show that 11,000 children still need to be placed in daycares.
It has already been announced that parents will not be allowed into the room, and the children’s temperature will be measured at the front entrance.
“I urge all parents to be patient so that the 80-100 children can take turns to enter the building. All safety rules must be observed,” said the deputy mayor.
The City Hall has already ordered over 160,000 masks and several thousand liters of disinfectant alcohol per month for kindergartens.
The vice mayor assures the public that any daycare workers who do not follow safety rules will be dismissed.