Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has decided to end his self-isolation in Sevan and return to Yerevan after testing negative for the novel coronavirus for the second time within two days.
Pashinian underwent another test for the highly contagious and potential deadly disease after one of the persons he had contacts with during his trip to a southern Armenian province as part of a constitutional referendum campaign last week had tested positive.
“The answer to our tests is negative again. Coming back to Yerevan in the morning,” Pashinian wrote in a Facebook post during the night referring to the results of his test and the test of his wife Anna Hakobian.
The couple had first decided to isolate themselves in a government villa at Lake Sevan late on Friday and undergo coronavirus tests after local media raised concerns about Hakobian’s contacts with the wife of President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro during a visit to that Latin American country on March 7. The Brazilian leader has since said he tested negative for the virus after it was discovered that an aide and another senior government official were infected. Pashinian’s and Hakobian’s first tests also came back negative.
Earlier last week, citing risks to public health posed by the novel coronavirus infection, Pashinian suspended his political campaign ahead of next month’s constitutional referendum. He said his government will be in discussions on what to do about the referendum scheduled on April 5 and the possibility of declaring a state of emergency in some parts of the country over the coronavirus outbreak on Monday and in the coming days.
“No political goal can be above public health,” Pashinian said.
In the referendum Armenians are to be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment that would lead to the dismissal of seven of the Constitutional Court’s nine members installed before nationwide protests swept Pashinian to power in 2018.
The seven, including Constitutional Court Chairman Hrayr Tovmasian, would be replaced by judges to be confirmed by the National Assembly, in which Pashinian’s My Step bloc holds a majority.
As of Sunday, Armenia’s health authorities confirmed 28 coronavirus cases in the country. They said the first patient hospitalized on March 1 had recovered from the disease.