Despite coronavirus pandemic, Armenia begins summer military drafts
Armenia has started a round of summer military drafts, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministry of Defense press secretary Shushan Stepanyan says that before starting their service, all conscripts are required to take a coronavirus test.
The military draft will last until August 30.
Why the military is drafting
News broke at the end of April that the military did not plan to cancel its summer draft. At that point, the Armenian government approved the terms of conscription for compulsory military service and alternative service options, as well as the discharge of military personnel who have already served.
In the preparatory period, all recruits and the entire personnel of military registration and enlistment offices were given personal protective equipment against the virus: masks, gloves, and disinfectants.
Draftees were called up to the military enlistment offices in small groups to avoid large gatherings of people. Throughout the day, the buildings were periodically disinfected.
In order to prevent coronavirus from spreading to the Armenian army, it was also decided that conscripts must undergo testing, which is conducted before the draw, which determines the location where the future soldiers will serve. Each conscript himself draws a “lottery” with the number of the unit in which he will serve.
The rules developed by the Ministry of Defense for the pandemic state that parents of draftees will be able to watch the draw process not from inside the building of the central assembly center, as before, but online. And the draw will be held outside the assembly center, in the open air.
It was announced in advance that contact between draftees and the armed forces would be limited.
Recruits will be quarantined for two weeks in an area separate from the rest of the military personnel.
Coronavirus and the army
For several months now, the Armenian government has been trying to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Every day, there are hundreds of new cases. An average of 10 people die from the illness per day.
However, Deputy Minister of Defense Gabriel Balayan says that the situation with coronavirus in the Armenian army is under control. In early June, he made this statement before parliament:
“We have personnel who are infected with coronavirus, and they are under surveillance. The virus has mainly been diagnosed in those who were previously in self-isolation. These are people who have the opportunity to leave and return to their units. That is, we are not talking about conscripts and cadets. Cases of infection have been observed in military contract soldiers and officers. There is no shortage of medication or hospital beds in the army.”
And on June 20, Ministry of Defense Press Secretary Shushan Stepanyan announced that “the army is in good health.”