No more state of emergency extensions in Armenia
The government of Armenia has approved a suite of legal changes that will allow them to stop extending the state of emergency.
The laws will enable them to impose quarantine if infectious diseases make their way into the country, taking into account they danger they pose and how quickly they spread and whether any outbreaks have occurred. Moreover, quarantine will imposed on specific cities and villages or even just institutions, and not the whole country.
The legal changes were developed by the minister of justice and the minister of health together. For the changes to take effect, however, parliament must also approve them, which is not yet certain. However, it is unlikely they will refuse, since both the ruling party and the opposition have been talking about the necessity of these changes for a long time.
The state of emergency in Armenia started on 16 March and has been extended five times, most recently until 11 September. The parliament meeting to discuss the legal changes has been set for that date.
What will change?
As Rustam Badasyan, minister of justice, states, the suite of legal changes will allow the fight against the pandemic to continue effectively even after the state of emergency ends.
Quarantine will also be able to be imposed by the federal government, applying to the entire country, or by the mayor of Yerevan and other governors, in which case it would apply to specific localities or organisations.
«When and if quarantine is imposed by governors or the mayor of Yerevan, the following measures may be taken: a checkpoint system for entering and exiting the epidemic zone, temporary cessation or limiting of transport across state borders, limiting of the rights of people to freedom of movement for themselves and their vehicles”, said Badasyan.
If quarantine should be imposed by the government, stronger measures may be taken. There is talk of limiting the right to assemble and participate in meetings or protests of multiple people, setting up regulations for sanitary and epidemiological safety in specific workplaces, limiting the transportation of goods, and closing schools and universities.
According to the minister of justice, the new system will be different from a state of emergency in how much it limits people’s rights, in the severity of the measures introduced, and in having more fine-tuned mechanisms for protecting the rights remaining under restrictions.
«In particular, we will no longer monitor people’s locations electronically. And there will be no more economic lockdown. It is possible that we may have to introduce restrictions on economic activity, but it will not be shut down completely”.
207 new cases of coronavirus were recorded on 27 August, bringing the total to 43,270. Out of that number, 36,988 have recovered and 5,153 are still undergoing treatment. 864 people have died. 200,507 tests have been administered in total, including 1,938 in the last 24 hours.