Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan:
- It is evident that people are more pro- than anti-pandemic.
- Social media is full of images from summer house parties to pilgrimages to people ignoring markings for physical distancing.
- The current numbers are evidence that each of us, whenever and however we can, are ignoring the safety rules.
- Everyone should “restart” their behavior:
– All government agencies should follow safety rules, in all aspects of governance, from medical institutions to agencies issuing driver’s licences.
– All companies/businesses should make sure their customers follow the rules, from banks to the postal office.
– The police force should first and foremost establish strict discipline within its own ranks and then make sure no police officer is indifferent towards any instance when safety regulations are not followed.
- We should show our collective believe that this crisis will be overcome. Which can only be possible through the sum of our collective will.
- 433 people have already died and we continue writing death sentences to more people through our behavior.
- Our behaviour should, first of all, be dictated by the presumption that we ourselves are infected and might infect others and then by the presumption that everyone else is infected and they might infect us.
- I have an analysis of different scenarios of crisis management including scenarios for navigating the economic aspects of the crisis. This professional analysis shows that the best scenario is the one when through the logic of social solidarity there is an increase in public discipline, which will help also overcome economic hardships.
- For those who ask why we are not resorting to a lockdown, there is another scenario that shows that the lockdown, if not observed strictly, will have a disastrous impact on the economy. And even a lockdown will require people following the rules. Therefore if we first of all learn to follow the safety rules, there will not be a need for another lockdown.
- More than 433 people have already died; 123 people are in extremely critical condition, 529 patients are in critical condition and 1739 patients have pneumonia which means they can, at any given moment, find themselves in critical or extremely critical condition. We are the authors of these statistics and we are the only ones who can change it.
Professor Laurent Papazian, Director of the Intensive Care Unit at the Nord Medical Center in Marseilles, France, who is leading the second group of French doctors:
- Papazian said he is honored to have come to Armenia, as part of a group of French healthcare workers to assist Armenian colleagues. He said that he has already had the privilege of meeting his Armenian colleagues, who are very competent, who are working day and night, and are exhausted.
- Papazian reaffirmed the PM’s call to follow the anti-epidemic rules, which are very simple and are implemented throughout the world. The three rules that can help us to get out of this situation are wearing a face mask, regularly washing/disinfecting hands, and maintaining physical distancing.
- He said that the current collaboration with their Armenian colleagues is only the beginning of a much bigger collaboration and Papazian will be willing to continue working with Armenian healthcare workers and share his experience in the years to come.
Narine Sargsyants, Deputy Director of the Republican Center for AIDS Prevention and Infectious Diseases Consultant of the Ministry of Health:
- As an epidemiologist, Sargsyants spoke about the clinical course of the COVID-19 pandemic. She expressed hope that everyone in the country realizes the seriousness of the virus or the difficulties that may arise during its treatment.
- Sargsyants explained that the virus primarily penetrates a person’s organism through their airways, which are the main targets of the virus. The particles of the virus then stick to the walls of a person’s airways and in certain cases can become the cause of pneumonia.
- 40% of infected patients, who exhibit symptoms of the virus, do not experience any complications, another 40% have pneumonia, which further complicates the treatment of the virus, while the remaining 20% are those with critical or extremely critical pneumonia.
- Another peculiarity of this virus is that it can affect the blood flow to various organs and cause blood clots, which can later lead to strokes.
- Lungs still remain the primary target of this virus, which are responsible for enriching the blood with oxygen, which is then directed to different parts of the body. Patients who experience critical pneumonia are deprived of adequate oxygen supply (a process known as hypoxia).
- Sargsyants urged citizens to trust and follow the recommendations of their doctors and prioritize public health concerns.
Hetq, Liana Sayadyan: Over the weekend, the Minister of Health asked people to stop going to restaurants and cafes. On the one hand there is an official call to stop going out, on the other, cafes and restaurants continue to stay open and find themselves in a difficult financial situation sustaining employees, paying rent and taxes. Is there no conflict in what a government member is calling for and the government’s action?
Nikol Pashinyan: Our only official call as the government is that you follow the safety rules. And you should also understand the calls from our colleagues from the healthcare sector; they have been working under superhuman strain for months now. There is often criticism directed at the Health Ministry regarding the situation but it is not the job of the Ministry to fight against the spread of the virus, their job is to fight the consequences of this spread and the bigger the number of patients, the more difficult their jobs. At a restaurant, the safety rules can be followed and can be ignored. The same applies for every aspect of our daily lives.
Shant TV, Aram Abrahamyan: Yesterday, the Health Minister called for a “conscious lockdown.” Is that a call that people will listen to when they have yet not fully responded to the simpler call of wearing masks and safety rules? Is the current situation not evidence enough that calls are not effective and that there is a need for stricter punitive measures to be put in place?
Nikol Pashinyan: By conscious lockdown, we should all understand the restrictions that we should place on ourselves. The analysis I mentioned showed that an ineffective lockdown is more problematic than no lockdown at all. As we have been saying from the very beginning, there should be “quarantine without a quarantine.” However, before we even result in a lockdown we should be sure that the rules will be followed. A lockdown is not something that is preserved only on main avenues of the city but people continue to hang out within their buildings as before. We cannot install a police officer on every floor of each building. I want to emphasize this one more time: When you are following the safety rules you should not be thinking of it as a favor to the government. You do it for yourself, your family, your friends and you do it to spare especially the elderly in your life from death by COVID-19. I want this to be clear. We are ready for a lockdown if the situation gets extreme and only if we at that point already have the mechanism in place to make sure that every last citizen in the most remote village of the country is following the rules.
Update on Number of Cases
The Ministry of Health reported 482 new cases of COVID-19 and 181 recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 25,127, of which 11,254 are active cases and 13,297 have already recovered. Seven COVID-19 patients died (the youngest aged 63 and the oldest 96), who all had pre-existing health conditions, bringing the total number of deaths to 433. Four other patients with COVID-19 also died, but the virus was not the cause of death; 143 such cases have been reported. To date, 110,571 tests have been conducted, of which 1,398 were in the last 24 hours.
Arsen Torosyan’s Call to Citizens
Health Minister Arsen Torosyan said in a Facebook post that everyone needs to be in a conscious lockdown, instead of a forced one. He noted that people need to limit all their non-essential movements, contacts, visits, events, and meetings. People need to stay at home as long as possible, including on Saturdays and Sundays. The Minister said that now is not the time to go sightseeing with a group or even alone.
Torosyan urged citizens to avoid holding celebrations, including the birth of a child, birthdays or wedding anniversaries and stressed that this applies to celebrations held at homes as well. Participation in funerals should also be limited as much as possible and offering condolences via phone should be more valuable than a personal visit during the pandemic.
It is important that people stay at home in the evenings as well and avoid meeting, communicating or drinking coffee with neighbours. People need to resist the temptation of evening walks until the situation starts improving. The Minister noted that no matter how difficult it may be, children should also stay at home as long as possible and that parents need to think of other activities for children so that they do not want to go outside. He went on to urge people to avoid all non-essential visits to relatives and instead contact them remotely, because that sacrifice is needed to save their lives.
Torosyan also recommended people avoid going to cafes and restaurants, since those are the only places where people are allowed to be without a face mask and can potentially infect each other. He instead urged citizens to order food from restaurants and eat it alone. In all remaining cases, people need to wear a mask properly, maintain physical distance between 1.5 to 2 metres and regularly disinfect hands. According to the Minister, there is no other way out of this situation.
Update on Number of Cases
The Ministry of Health reported 736 new cases of COVID-19 and 205 recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 24,645, of which 10,964 are active cases and 13,116 have already recovered. Six COVID-19 patients died (the youngest aged 33 and the oldest 87), who all had pre-existing health conditions, bringing the total number of deaths to 426. Six other patients with COVID-19 also died, but the virus was not the cause of death; 139 such cases have been reported. To date, 109,173 tests have been conducted, of which 2065 were in the last 24 hours.
Situation in Artsakh
The Ministry of Health of Artsakh reported three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 118, of which 31 are active cases and 87 have already recovered. The three infected patients are family members from the region of Shushi and were already isolated. To date, 1,921 tests have been conducted and 55 people are in isolation. All the infected patients are in stable condition.
Doctors Arrive From Italy
A humanitarian mission of eleven healthcare workers from the Italian Civil Protection Service arrived in Armenia from Italy through the EU Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC). Along with the healthcare workers, the plane also delivered medical supplies which doctors will use during their medical mission in Armenia.
First Deputy Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan, Deputy Foreign Minister Avet Adonts, Ambassador of Italy to Armenia Vincenzo Del Monaco, Head of the EU delegation to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin and Head of the NA Armenia-Italy Friendship Group Maria Karapetyan welcomed the medical staff at the airport. The group of Italian doctors will be in Armenia for three weeks and will assist Armenian colleagues in the fight against coronavirus.
Update on Number of Cases
The Ministry of Health reported 662 new cases of COVID-19 and 762 recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 23,909, of which 10,445 are active cases and 12,911 have already recovered. Ten COVID-19 patients died (the youngest aged 60 and the oldest 97), who all, other than the 60 year old patient, had pre-existing health conditions, bringing the total number of deaths to 420. Two other patients with COVID-19 also died, but the virus was not the cause of death; 133 such cases have been reported. To date, 107,108 tests have been conducted, of which 2062 were in the last 24 hours.