Thousands of volunteers in Armenia helping doctors combat coronavirus
Thousands of citizens have heeded the Armenian government’s call for volunteers to step forward and assist in coronavirus containment and treatment efforts.
As of March 20, 136 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Armenia. Since March 16, a state of emergency has been declared to stop the spread of the virus.
Within 24 hours of the call, the ministry received more than two thousand resumes from people who were ready to become volunteers.
“Dear compatriots, the Ministry of Health thanks you all for the promptly responding to our call for volunteers. At the moment, we have collected a sufficient number of resumes and are temporarily not accepting new applications,” wrote Alina Nikoghosyan, spokeswoman for the ministry, on her Facebook page.
People are helping however they can. Some are delivering food and medicine by car, volunteer nurses and medical university students provide more professional support, and psychologists have also joined the cause.
Free medical masks
There has been a shortage of masks since March 2, just one day after the first case was reported in Armenia. People complained on social networks that there were no masks available in pharmacies.
Gegham Gevorgyan, Chairman of the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition, announced that they are simply not being produced in Armenia.
After that, people started posting and sharing posts about people who are sewing medical masks for their families and passing them out to people on the street for free. This happened primarily in the city of Etchmiadzin, which was declared the epicenter of the spread of coronavirus.
One of them is Misha Davtyan. His mother is sewing masks and he is sterilizing them and handing them out at medical centers.
“We have already distributed 3000 masks, and they served their purpose. It makes me happy and encourages me to continue doing this work,” says Misha.
Masks are also being sewn by the family of Echmiadtzin resident Armen Abrahamyan.
“This is the fifth day since we started sewing masks. All of them are sterilized in a hospital setting. On the first day, we sewed 56 masks, and now we have 3500. We have provided masks to the hospital in Echmiadzin, a polyclinic, a maternity hospital, and police stations. We distribute the rest to ordinary citizens,” says Armen.
The initiative was then picked up in other cities. In particular, in Alaverdi, ten volunteer activists began to sew masks. They say that they asked doctors what materials are best to use. They wear gloves while sewing them, and then sterilize them and distribute them to passers-by on the streets.