The Armenian Ministry of Health recorded a total of 629 COVID-19 cases last week, up from 354 cases in the previous week and 174 cases in the period from June 27 to July 3.
The ministry reported an average of several cases a day in May. The country’s infection rates remained negligible until the end of June.
Despite the soaring cases, health authorities in Yerevan have reported no coronavirus-related deaths so far this month.
“Severe cases are not registered in large numbers yet,” Romela Abovian, a senior official from the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, explained on Wednesday. “There are hospitalized people but many of them were vaccinated and are coping [with the disease] well.”
Abovian blamed the resurgence of the virus on the even more contagious BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron which are becoming prevalent around the world.
Davit Melik-Nubarian, a public health expert, said that waning vaccine protection is another factor behind what appears to be a new wave of infections.
According to the Ministry of Health, less than half of Armenia’s population has received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine. The vast majority of them were vaccinated last fall and winter.
Only 60,000 or so people in the country of about 3 million have received a third “booster” shot to date. The vaccination process practically ground to a halt in May.
Melik-Nubarian said the COVID-19 resurgence could intensify after schools and universities across the country reopen their doors in September. Still, he suggested that it will be less severe than the previous waves “in terms of the loss of human lives.”
Abovian said that the authorities will consider restoring mandatory mask-wearing and reimposing other restrictions if the upward trend continues unabated in the coming weeks.
Melik-Nubarian was skeptical on that score, arguing that such restrictions were barely enforced in Armenia when they were in force.
The Armenian authorities have registered more than 10,300 coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.