The number of active coronavirus cases in Armenia continued to decrease over the weekend as the fatality rate remained relatively high, according to official statistics.
The figures reported by the Ministry of Health show that for the first time since early June the number of active coronavirus cases in Armenia has dropped below 7,000. Eleven more patients died from COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the total number of deaths to 796.
According to the ministry, since the start of the epidemic in March 228 other patients infected with the virus died from other pre-existing diseases.
The daily number of officially registered fatalities averaged approximately 15 from July 6 through July 24 after which a downward trend began.
As of August 10, the total number of coronavirus cases identified in Armenia has reached 40,433. In the past weeks and days the number of daily reported cases decreased more than twice as compared to what appears to be the peak of the epidemic in early July when over 700 cases were identified on a daily basis.
Ministry spokesperson Alina Nikoghosian sees a continuing positive trend in the rate of infections. “The numbers themselves show a significant decrease. But, like we did it before, we keep repeating that vigilance must not be weakened, because if we relax, the numbers will start growing again,” she said.
The Armenian government ascribes the recent improvement in the coronavirus situation to the wearing of face masks in all public places that was made mandatory in Armenia in early June and other enforced and popularized measures like social distancing and regular washing of hands.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and other officials have urged Armenians to continue to follow the basic anti-epidemic rules, insisting that they can help cope with the epidemic.
Despite the improving trend the Pashinian government intends to extend the coronavirus-related state of emergency that ends on August 12 for another month.
Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinian said last week that the government will at the same time fully or partly lift its ban on public gatherings and make it easier for foreign nationals to enter the country. He also reaffirmed plans to reopen all schools and universities in time for the start of the new academic year in September.
Health Minister Arsen Torosian, meanwhile, said at a government session on August 6 that his ministry planned more targeted and “pro-active” testing among people working in government agencies, supermarkets, factories, banks or other businesses as well as patients of various medical and elderly care institutions.
Critics have for months urged authorities to significantly expand COVID-19 testing, saying that it is vital for tackling the epidemic.