YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Shopping centers, bars, night clubs and a number of other entertainment facilities were shut in Armenia on Sunday as the number of novel coronavirus cases reached 194 in the country.
The Armenian authorities say the limitations will remain in place for the rest of the one-month national emergency declared over the pandemic on March 16.
Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, who is the coordinator of the state of emergency, said late on Saturday that the ban will apply to several types of economic activities and will remain in force until April 14.
These include: shopping centers, except those for retail trade in food, beverages, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products; bars, night clubs, dance floors; screening of movies; casinos; bookmakers and gambling offices.
Two of the largest shopping centers in Yerevan – Yerevan Mall and Dalma Garden Mall – have already been closed since March 16 following their own decisions to reduce the risk of the further spread of the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus.
Armenian Health Minister Arsen Torosyan reported on March 21 that a second patient has recovered from the novel coronavirus infection in Armenia.
In a Facebook post the minister wrote that the patient would be discharged from hospital after testing negative for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“His mother, who has spent 21 days in the same room with him, has not got infected, or got the infection, but quickly recovered. At least she has tested negative for the coronavirus,” wrote Torosyan, wishing health to all other patients.
“I urge the rest of our citizens to observe all individual protection measures, as well as the rules of the state of emergency,” the minister added.
The first coronavirus patient declared recovered in Armenia was discharged from hospital earlier this week. The authorities said it was a 29-year-old man hospitalized on March 1 after being evacuated from Iran.
On Saturday, Minister Torosyan said that Armenia had 11 coronavirus patients diagnosed with pneumonia. He said three patients required intensive care, but added that none of the patients were in critical danger.
Armenia has recorded no coronavirus fatalities yet.
Hundreds of people remain in quarantines or self-quarantines. The Armenian parliament unanimously passed a package of government-drafted amendments on Friday envisaging administrative and criminal liability for violating the requirement of isolation and self-isolation. Under the bill, which is yet to be approved in the second and final reading on Monday, people breaking corresponding requirements will face a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to five years if their actions result in mass infection.
Under the package, dissemination of information that may provoke panic during state-of-emergency periods is to be subject to a fine of up to 300,000 drams (about $600).
The parliament voted 102 to 0, with no abstentions, to pass the amendments in the first reading, leaving the possibility for the bills to be elaborated based on lawmakers’ proposals before the second-reading debate and vote scheduled for Monday.