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Coronavirus Cases In Armenia Keep Rising


Armenia -- Healthcare workers are seen outside the Nork hospital in Yerevan which deals with most coronavirus cases in Armenia, March 20, 2020.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Armenia rose by 39 to 329 in the past 24 hours, health authorities reported on Friday morning.

Health Minister Arsen Torosian said later in the day that a 72-year-old person who died in hospital on Thursday remains the country’s sole fatality from the deadly virus.

Torosian said another elderly patient remains in critical condition. “We also have one citizen who is in serious condition,” he added in a live Facebook transmission. “The lives of the other [infected persons] are not at risk right now. Many patients are asymptomatic.”

The latter include a young woman and her two-month-old baby, the minister went on. “The child has showed no symptoms [of the disease] while the mother had a fever for two days but is showing no symptoms now. They both are in hospital.”

Torosian also reported that ten more people have been cured of the COVID-19 virus, raising to 28 the total number of such recoveries in Armenia.

According to Armenian government data, Yerevan accounts for around half of the infections. The vast majority of the other coronavirus cases were registered in the surrounding Armavir, Ararat and Kotayk provinces.

Health authorities have quarantined at least 3,000 people in the last two weeks. Officials say around 150 of them have been released from the two-week quarantine after repeatedly testing negative for the virus.

Armenia -- A police officer enforcing a coronavirus lockdown checks a woman's documents, Yerevan, March 25, 2020.
Armenia -- A police officer enforcing a coronavirus lockdown checks a woman's documents, Yerevan, March 25, 2020.

The Armenian government declared a state of emergency and closed all schools and universities on March 16 shortly after reporting the first coronavirus cases. Earlier this week, it also ordered the closure of most businesses and imposed stringent restrictions on people’s movement in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.

Armenians are only allowed out to buy food, receive medical care and briefly exercise. When leaving their homes they must carry IDs and filled-out forms explaining their reasons for not staying indoors. The Armenian police said that in the last three days they have fined more than 1,400 people for not complying with these restrictions.

The authorities have also suspended bus services between Yerevan and the rest of the country. Deputy Minister for Local Government Armen Simonian told reporters on Friday that public transport links among communities located within each of the ten provinces outside the Armenian capital will also be temporarily banned.

Armenia’s borders with Georgia and Iran were closed for travel earlier this month. People have since been able to enter and leave the country only by air. According to Simonian, only one Belarusian and four Russian airlines continued to fly to and from Yerevan on Friday.

This means that Armenia will be effectively cut off from the outside world after a Russian government ban on all commercial flights abroad comes into force early on Saturday.

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