How Armenia’s dealing with coronavirus
Armenia has just one case of coronavirus, and is taking a number of measures to ensure the number of infections remains low.
The first and only case arrived in Armenia from Tehran on February 28. The 29-year-old Armenian citizen and all who contacted him have been quarantined. The individual’s health is satisfactory, does not have a fever and is not receiving treatment.
However, since his arrival in the country, classes in all educational institutions have been cancelled and a temporary visa regime was introduced with neighboring Iran.
The border with Georgia remains open; this is the only land road connecting Armenia with the outside world.
Armenia introduces visa regime with Iran
“Given that there is an outbreak of coronavirus in the region, we decided to extend and tighten restrictions on the Armenian-Iranian border. We will begin the process of temporarily restoring the visa regime with Iran. It will come into force within five days,” the Prime Minister of Armenia stated on March 2.
Since February 23, after the emergence of information about the first cases in Iran, Armenia closed the border with Iran for two weeks to prevent the penetration of the virus, however it was specifically stipulated that there would be no restrictions on the return of the citizens of Iran and Armenia to their homeland.
Charter flights have been organized for Armenian nationals in Iran; the Armenian Embassy in Tehran says over 360 people have returned from Iran to Armenia over the past few days.
Monitoring the virus
There are no new cases of coronavirus infection in the country.
However, nine test answers are expected. Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan promised to inform the residents of the country if a new infection is recorded.
“We hope that no new diseases will be confirmed, but if, God forbid, this happens, there is no need to panic. This is a curable disease,” said the Prime Minister of Armenia.
Those arriving in Armenia in recent days from countries where the virus has already spread (for example, Italy) are being monitored by doctors for a period of two weeks post arrival; they are called daily and asked to report their condition. Those who report feelings of malaise are examined at home.
Shortage of masks, price hikes
Facebook users complain it is either impossible to find medical masks in pharmacies, or that prices have been jacked up five to six times from 50 drams for a mask (about 10 cents) to 200-300 dram (50-60 cents).
Some pharmacies have increased the price of rubbing alcohol.
The Armenian State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition is already working to ensure that prices do not increase unjustifiably. Checks were carried out in about 90 pharmacies. The chairman of the commission Gegham Gevorgyan announced this on March 2:
“Just if they buy a new batch of goods at a higher price, then they will be forced to sell them more expensive. It is impossible to buy masks at 150 drams each, and sell them as before for 30. But so far, pharmacy chains are not trying to seize the opportunity and sell old stocks at new prices.”
There has not yet been a rise in food prices in large grocery chains, despite the fact that some residents in a panic rushed to shopping at supermarkets.
“There is no need for this. We have the required volumes of main products. There will be enough sugar for another year, the same applies to flour. We simply urge the citizens of Armenia not to make large-scale purchases,” said the chairman of the commission for the protection of economic competition.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Welfare has urged employers to be understanding of late arrivals of employees who have children to work, and encourages employers to allow parents to work part time.