The Russian military has sent a team of medics and special equipment to Armenia to help it detect and prevent coronavirus cases among Armenian and Russian military personnel serving in the country.
Two Russian military transport planes delivered the assistance to Yerevan on Tuesday night. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, it includes Russian army specialists in virology and epidemics, a coronavirus testing lab and a sample collection system for COVID-19 tests.
In a statement, the ministry said the assistance was provided in line with an agreement reached by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and his Armenian counterpart Davit Tonoyan. It will “substantially enhance the effectiveness of anti-epidemic measures” taken at the Armenian army units and the Russian military base in Armenia, added the statement.
“It’s a mobile team equipped with an epidemiological laboratory and it will be working together with our sanitary epidemiological service,” Tigran Avetisian, a high-ranking Armenian army medic, told the Defense Ministry’s Zinuzh TV program.
Avetisian spoke as the equipment was unloaded from the Russian planes at a Yerevan airport. He said the mobile lab will be able to process up to 100 coronavirus tests a day with secretion samples to be collected at all military bases in the country.
In Avetisian’s words, Russian brigades of army medics dispatched to Italy and Serbia earlier are using the same equipment.
The Armenian military has so far confirmed six coronavirus cases within its ranks. It said that the infected and hospitalized soldiers served in a noncombat army unit.
The Russian base in Armenia has reported no such cases among its 5,000 or so troops.
Russia and Armenia have close military ties cemented by bilateral agreements and their membership in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization.