Health Minister Arsen Torosian insisted on Thursday that the authorities are still able to cope with the continuing coronavirus epidemic in Armenia after the number of new infections there hit a fresh daily high of 771.
The figure accounted for one-third of coronavirus tests carried out in the country of about 3 million on Wednesday. The total number of coronavirus cases rose to 22,488, up from almost 18,700 cases recorded as of June 18.
The Ministry of Health also reported that 11 more people died from COVID-19 in the past day, bringing the official death toll to 397. The figure does not include the deaths of 131 other people infected with the virus. The ministry says that those deaths were caused by other, pre-existing conditions.
Torosian noted the record daily number of new cases when he spoke during a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan. He said that the epidemiological situation in Armenia remains “stable” despite the continuing spread of the disease.
“The virus is now everywhere but we have no big outbreaks,” said the minister. “Infection rates among young people are not increasing … but we have the opposite trend among elderly people: the higher the age the higher the infection rate.”
“Since last Sunday … the situation has been fairly good in terms of the hospitalization,” he went on. “As of nine o’clock in the morning there were only 51 citizens who needed to be transferred to hospitals dealing the coronavirus.”
Torosian added that there are now “several” vacant intensive-care beds at those hospitals.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian again indicated that despite the high infection numbers his government has no plans to re-impose lockdown restrictions and will continue instead to put the emphasis on getting more Armenians to practice social distancing and wear face masks in public.
The national police chief, Vahe Ghazarian, said in this regard that on Wednesday alone more than 1,700 people were fined for not wearing masks.
The Armenian government issued stay-at-home orders and shut down schools, universities and most nonessential businesses in late March shortly after recording the first COVID-19 cases. But it began easing those restrictions already in mid-April and all but lifted the lockdown by the beginning of May. The number of coronavirus cases has risen substantially since then.