Total number of people infected with COVID-19: 736
Total number of recovered: 43
Total number of deaths: 7
Health and Labor Inspectorate Update
During a press conference, Hakob Avakyan, Head of Armenia’s Health and Labor Inspectorate, said that, since the Special Commission established restriction of free movement and business activity on March 24, the Inspectorate has monitored 257 organizations/businesses and their branches that were allowed to operate under the State of Emergency rules.
Avakyan said that, when violations of procedure are observed, the Inspectorate reports to the Special Commission and the enterprise is subsequently shut down for six hours as a penalty. Upon reopening, the enterprise is monitored once again to make sure that the previous violations have been corrected. According to Avakyan, 38 enterprises (including their branches) were mandated to stop operations for six hours. Avakyan said the aim is not to fine the enterprises but to make sure the rules set by the Special Commission are followed.
In businesses where employees have direct contact with customers, it is mandatory that the employees wear masks and gloves and have their temperature checked twice over the duration of their shifts. Additional sanitary measures include having running water for employees to regularly wash their hands and a separate changing room. Avakyan said the facility is required to keep a log of when the temperature of each employee was checked and what the employee’s temperature was at the given time. Supermarkets and shops are also required to keep a log of when their cleaning staff last disinfected the shopping carts and baskets. To check this, Avakyan said their inspectors wait to see if the basket used by one customer is disinfected before it is available again to another. “In this sense, monitoring is possible for us, but to exactly know how many times during the day the face masks and the gloves are changed is more difficult. We can register violations during our monitoring but not throughout the day,” Avakyan said, noting that complaints filed by citizens through their hotline were very useful; they often schedule their daily checkups based on reports from citizens.
Other than monitoring, the Inspectorate also makes sure the businesses are aware of the rules and distribute printed material, which Avakyan says should be put up in a visible place in the facility so that employees see it as well: “It is more effective when the employees are well-informed of the rules and can also demand that their employer abide by them.”
Avakyan said that prior to the Special Commission’s decision to stop all public transportation, the Inspectorate also monitored the disinfection process in public transportation vehicles. 64 organizations were monitored; violations were registered at two of them.
Since January 24, Armenia’s seven border checkpoints (including Zvartnots International Airport) have been under strengthened surveillance. At the time, people arriving from countries flagged as risk zones were required to fill out forms and were checked for fevers and other symptoms. Since March 24, 122 people arriving in Armenia have been hospitalized directly from the seven border checkpoints; 24,172 people have filled out forms. Since March 19, besides these forms, new arrivals were also required to hand in self-isolation notices. Currently, passengers arriving from 42 countries considered risk zones are obligated to give self-isolation notices. Since March 19, 11,895 people have received self-isolation notices; their information has been shared with the Ministry of Health, the police force and the Special Commission’s task force dealing with issues of self isolation. The Inspectorate has set up a hotline (8107) for people to report violations.
Avakyan said that the flow of passengers coming into the country through the airport has decreased considerably. Armenia had no incoming flights on April 2. According to Avakyan, under these circumstances, they have been focusing their attention on the Bagratashen border checkpoint with Georgia. Avakyan said 186 people came into Armenia through Bagratashen on April 2, including cargo truck drivers (some of them foreign nationals). A number of the 186 people have shown symptoms of the virus and have been immediately hospitalized.
Two employees of the Inspectorate have tested positive for COVID-19. One has already been transferred from the hospital to a hotel for self-isolation; 17 employees are in quarantine, 14 employees are in self-isolation. Six employees serving at border checkpoints and two from the Yerevan branch have been tested for COVID-19; all eight tests have come back negative.
Parliament Reallocates Funds
The National Assembly will direct 500 million drams from its annual operating budget back to the state budget to be used toward the prevention, control and treatment of the pandemic.
The redirected sum include funds that had been earmarked for contracts that had yet to be signed, funds that had been allocated for business trips planned for the first quarter (but were not used); financial means earmarked for the second quarter; all bonuses that were set aside for the second quarter for the approximately 700-member staff of the National Assembly; representatives’ expenses and funds intended for other budget lines.
Possible Production of Ventilators
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan went to the “Engineering City” to observe the refurbishment of ventilators. Currently, representatives of the Armenian Engineering Association are working on the design, implementation and development of the complete or partial production of new ventilators and will submit final proposals to the Ministry of High Technology Industry.
Free Public Transport for Medical Staff
According to an order by the Warden of the State of Emergency and in cooperation with the Yerevan Municipality, starting from April 3, 40 public transportation buses will be put into operation to transfer medical staff to 30 different medical institutions three times a day.
Ministry of Health Update
According to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Health, another 73 cases of COVID-19 were registered over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Armenia to 736. Forty-three people have recovered, 686 patients are currently in treatment and there have been seven deaths to date.