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Government Set To Extend Coronavirus State Of Emergency


Armenia -- A message flashed on an outdoor advertising screen in Yerevan urges people to stay at home because of the coronavirus outbreak, April 10, 2020.

Armenia’s government looked set on Friday to extend by one month a state of emergency which it declared on March 16 to try to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Emergency rule approved by the parliament was due to end on April 14. Sources told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the government is inclined it to extend it until May 14.

Health Minister Arsen Torosian said that his ministry has recommended such an extension. “I think that the state of emergency is very important,” he told reporters

A draft government decision to that effect leaked to the Armenian press says that a nationwide lockdown imposed on March 24 should also remain in force. It argues that the coronavirus cases in the country are continuing to increase even if the rate of new infections has slowed thanks to the serious restrictions on people’s movement and the closure of many businesses.

Armenian health authorities reported 45 coronavirus cases as of March 16. Their number has risen to 937 since then. Twelve people diagnosed with the highly contagious disease have died so far.

The daily number of new cases recorded by the authorities dropped significantly in the course of this week. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Wednesday that Armenia may have already passed its peak of COVID-19 infections.

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