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Record number of new Covid-19 cases in Armenia

The number of people infected with coronavirus in Armenia is rising steadily every day. By the morning of April 2, 92 more cases had been reported. This is the largest number of new cases within a 24 hour period that the country has yet experienced.

The latest data from the Ministry of Health shows that there are 663 total coronavirus cases in Armenia. 33 of them have already recovered and seven have died.

In light of the growing number of patients, gyms and sports centers in the capital are being equipped with the necessary facilities to function as makeshift hospitals. It is expected that some gyms in the regions will also need to be converted.

Not enough hospital beds

Photos of rows of hospital beds lined up in the main hall of the Demirchyan Sports and Concert Complex in Yerevan are circulating around the Armenian Facebook community.

As it turned out, the Armenian government is considering the possibility of moving infected coronavirus patients here.

“The presence of beds in the sports and concert complex does not mean that the epidemic is certain to reach a new stage, but rather that it is predicted…Beds are being placed not only in this complex, but in all regions where sports centers have already been outfitted for this purpose. If necessary, they will be turned into hospitals for patients in moderate, and perhaps even critical condition,” said Health Minister Arsen Torosyan on April 2.

The government, he said, is preparing for all possible scenarios:

“Even worst-case scenarios are being discussed in which, as was the case in some countries, there may not be enough beds to treat patients, not only in hospitals, but also in gyms.”

When will Armenia hit the peak

Armenia may reach the peak number of cases at any time, says the Minister of Health:

“The peak is always reported after the fact, when the number of infections starts decreasing every day. And if everyone follows the rules and recommendations, this will be the peak and the beginning of the decline of the disease. In the near future 400-500 people will be tested, and after the new tests arrive, about 1500 will be tested per day.”

Healthcare workers among the infected

The number of infected healthcare workers is also rising in Armenia.

“I cannot tell you exactly how many medical workers have been infected, but I regret to inform you that the number is rising. Considering their close contact with infected patients, this is inevitable,” said the Minister of Health.

Moreover, some of the medical staff were infected outside of the line of duty.

“There were cases when doctors had contact with infected people outside of the workplace. All these cases are being investigated, and the doctors are being isolated. I want to note that in our current situation, all doctors are important to us, and we are doing everything possible to maintain the efficacy of our healthcare system.

Incidentally, just one day earlier, the minister announced open recruitment for additional medical staff under the age of 55 years.

22 doctors, 8 nurses and 1 junior paramedic responded to the minister’s call.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan posted this video on his Facebook page, captioning it “Our heroic doctors.”

Journalists are curious why there are fewer cases in Georgia

The Minister of Health of Armenia explained why, in his opinion, the number of people infected with coronavirus is much lower in neighboring Georgia than in Armenia:

“Fortunately, Georgia had no incidents where an infected person went to work at a company with 500 employees, or attended a banquet with hundreds of other people. This is why their numbers are lower. I hope that in our country, where people are very friendly and social, we will be able to prevent the growth rate from rising and keep our numbers within the range they are now.”

Some found Torosyan’s explanation unconvincing.

“Can you imagine?! As if it’s just sheer luck that, for example, not a single infected Italian came to Georgia and went to a textile factory where 500 people work, and it’s not due to the fact that flights were canceled in time or because they were actually checking people thoroughly at the border…If you can’t control the spread of the virus, then just admit it,” political analyst Grant Melik-Shahnazaryan wrote on his Facebook page.