Pashinian said the government will instead step up its vaccination campaign and push for greater mask wearing in the country.
“Our strategy is as follows: we believe we should not opt for lockdowns and must work in the two [other] directions,” Pashinian told a weekly session of his cabinet.
He spoke after the Armenian Ministry said that 2,307 infections and 49 coronavirus-related deaths were registered in the past day.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Health Minister Anahit Avanesian said that all of just over 3,000 beds set up for COVID-19 patients at 27 hospitals across the country are now occupied. About 1,400 of the patients treated there now are in a severe or critical condition, she said.
On Monday, the government ordered Armenian universities to revert to online classes and extended school holidays until November 7 in a bid to contain the latest wave of infections. Avanesian said it is now considering delaying school classes by another week.
“The epidemiological situation in Armenia is extremely tense,” commented Pashinian. He said Armenians may soon be required to wear masks not only indoors but also in the streets.
Most of them currently do not wear mandatory masks even inside overcrowded public buses. The authorities essentially stopped fining them a year ago.
Pashinian said the government will also strive to “expand the volume of vaccinations.” They have already accelerated over the past month after the authorities began requiring all public and private sector employees to get inoculated or take coronavirus tests twice a month at their own expense.
Nevertheless, Armenia continues to have the lowest vaccination rate in the region. Ministry of Health data shows that 466,785 people in the country of about 3 million received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and only about 210,250 of them were fully vaccinated as of October 24.