YEREVAN — Health authorities in Armenia reported over the weekend the first two cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The Ministry of Health said two persons tested positive for the variant after arriving in the country from abroad.
“The patients’ condition is satisfactory,” the ministry said in a statement. “They were not hospitalized. They both are receiving treatment at home.”
The Omicron cases were detected after two months of a steady decline in coronavirus cases and deaths in Armenia.
Armenian health authorities have reported between 100 and 150 cases a day for the last two weeks, sharply down from over 2,000 daily cases recorded in late October.
Only three Armenians died from COVID-19 on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health. A record 62 deaths caused by the disease were registered on November 2.
This downward trend has contrasted sharply with Omicron-driven spikes in COVID-19 infections in Europe and the United States.
Announcing Omicron’s officially confirmed entry into Armenia, the Ministry of Health again called on unvaccinated citizens to get inoculated against the coronavirus.
Ministry data shows that only about 740,500 people making up roughly a quarter of the country’s population were fully vaccinated as of Sunday. More than 212,000 others received only the first dose of a vaccine.
On Monday, Health Minister Anahit Avanesyan officially announced the introduction from January 23 of a mandatory coronavirus health pass for entry to cultural and leisure venues.
The decision means that only those people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had a recent negative test will be allowed to visit bars, restaurants and other public venues. The requirement does not apply to minors, pregnant women, people who have a contraindication to vaccination as well as those who tested positive for the coronavirus up to 90 days ago.