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Coronavirus Cases Again Fall In Armenia


Armenia -- Medics at the Surb Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center in Yerevan, Armenia's largest hospital treating COVID-19 patients, June 5, 2020.

Coronavirus infections in Armenia have fallen over the past week after two months of rapid growth that overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system, official figures show.

The Armenian Ministry of Health reported up to 1,500 coronavirus cases a day last week, down from more than 2,000 cases recorded in previous weeks.

According to the ministry spokeswoman, Alina Nikoghosian, the number of infected people awaiting hospitalization due to a shortage of hospital beds stood at 321 as of Monday. It hovered between 500 and 600 earlier this month.

“There has been a certain positive trend in the last three or four days,” said Petros Manukian, the deputy director of the Surb Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center, the country’s largest hospital treating COVID-19 patients.

“True, the number of infected people staying at home is not yet showing signs of a major decrease. But the overall number [of cases] suggests a positive trend,” Manukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

The Ministry of Health data also shows that more Armenia have recovered from COVID-19 than tested positive for it in recent days. But Nikoghosian cautioned in this regard that 1,114 patients were in a serious or critical condition as of Sunday.

Armenia -- High school students in Yerevan wear face masks, September 15, 2020.
Armenia -- High school students in Yerevan wear face masks, September 15, 2020.

The daily number of new cases began soaring after averaging only about 150 in early September. The situation worsened further with the outbreak of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27.

The fighting overshadowed the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a widespread noncompliance with mandatory mask-wearing and other safety rules and their lax enforcement by the authorities. Also, Armenian hospitals had to treat thousands of wounded soldiers in addition to a growing number of COVID-19 patients.

The subsequent downward trend began without a toughening of the safety rules or their enforcement. Manukian suggested that it results from Armenians’ decreased social activity and growing “herd immunity.”

According to the Ministry of Health, almost 127,000 people in the country of about 3 million have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The real number of cases is believed to be much higher.

The ministry said on Monday that 24 more people have died from the virus in the past day. Armenia’s official coronavirus death toll thus rose to 1,976.

The ministry has also reported the deaths of 503 other people infected with COVID-19. It says they were primarily caused by other diseases.

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