A nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus, imposed last week by Armenia’s government was extended for at least 10 additional days on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on social media. The lockdown was scheduled to expire Tuesday.
Citing “alarming statistics,” Pashinyan moved to extend the lockdown saying, “many people think that the coronavirus will not reach them. I would really like to share your optimism. If we don’t take care of ourselves, if we don’t take emergency measures, the coronavirus will reach us very quickly,” Pashinyan warned.
He also commented on the location data bill that was voted down in parliament. He said the bill’s purpose is for the authorities to tactically and rapidly trace direct contacts of confirmed cases, citing potential community transmission cases.
Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan said on Tuesday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Armenia had reached 532—a jump of 50 cases in one day. Torosyan added that 31 people had tested negative after being initially diagnosed with the virus and sticking to a strict quarantine regimen. He also added that 150 additional people were released from quarantine, explaining that 65 of them were Armenia citizens who were airlifted from Italy.
Torosyan also announced during a Coronavirus task-force meeting on Tuesday that Armenian healthcare professionals will be supplied with 100 ventilators, 60,000 coronavirus test kits, face masks, protective suits, goggles and other equipment in the coming days.
The government will tighten restrictions during the extended nationwide lockdown, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan who is chairing the national coronavirus task-force.
“Extending those restrictions for another 10 days will allow us to conduct large-scale preventive and isolation measures, help the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention to effectively find the people who were in direct contact with infected people and isolate them,” Avinyan told reporters Tuesday after a task-force meeting. \
“Our goal is to increase the number of test kits in line with developing these technologies and reduce the restrictions as much as possible in accordance with this process. The strategy may change and restrictions may further tighten within the next 10 days. The police will be joined by other forces from different structures in order to further raise the efficiency of the control,” said Avinyan.
He explained that if the government did not apply such restrictions, an estimate 89 percent of Armenia’s population would be infected with the virus.