The Armenia government hopes to significantly reduce the daily number of new coronavirus cases by September and reopen schools as a result, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinian.
Speaking in the parliament on Monday, Avinian said Armenia’s COVID-19 infection rate has already fallen in recent weeks thanks to more people wearing face masks in public and practicing social distancing.
“In case this trend continues, it is projected that we will have 140 new infections a day in early September,” he said during a parliament session that discussed the government’s decision to extend the coronavirus-related state of emergency in Armenia by another month.
But he also cautioned: “The projections are very tentative and do not mean that the downward trend will necessarily continue because there are many factors at play.”
The daily number of COVID-19 cases registered by the Armenian health authorities has averaged between 500 and 600 for the past month after growing steadily since mid-April.
The authorities have reported a total of 32,490 cases and 581 deaths caused by the virus as of Tuesday morning. The official toll does not include the deaths of 184 other people also infected with the disease. The Armenian Ministry of Health says that they died primarily because of other, pre-existing conditions.
Avinian said that the government would have re-imposed a nationwide lockdown had the spread of the virus continued unabated this summer. The government now hopes that it will be safe enough for schools, theaters and other cultural institutions to reopen their doors this autumn, he said.
Liana Torosian, a senior official from the Armenian National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, likewise spoke on Tuesday of a “certain stabilization” of the coronavirus situation in the country.
“If this trend continues … we will have satisfactory results in September,” Torosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “But let’s wait and see how the situation develops and whether we all will be following the safety rules.”