2020 March 13

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Mar/13/2020 -- Daily News Summary -- Pashinyan & Wife isolated after contact; COVID test -- 13 cases -- Italian COVID brought before main outbreak, shutting flights wouldn't help -- Other major stories on Post-Revolution Changes, Anti-Corruption, Economy, Politics, Diaspora, Daily Life, and more...
by ar_david_hh

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams ֏ unless specified otherwise.

COVID / Officials cancel meetings / links all the way down

Healthcare Ministry has a hotline at 8003 for COVID related calls.

Artsakh presidential candidate Arayik Harutyunyan canceled his meetings with the public. No COVID cases in Artsakh. Pashinyan shut down his rallies yesterday.

The Supreme Court judge selection meeting was postponed.

COVID / Ejmiatsin infection

Yesterday we learned that one of the infected was from Ejmiatsin who came from Italy. Upon entry, she didn't have a high temp but later developed it. Instead of informing the clinic immediately, she abandoned treatment, went on with her daily life, and ended up infecting 2 of her relatives. Other people who had contact with her are being monitored.

This story is about the 2 cases that were confirmed yesterday. A false rumor was circulated about 3 additional people allegedly being confirmed but being kept secret regarding a wedding, although a wedding did take place and this is why dozens of people were isolated yesterday, as reported by Healthcare Ministry.

Pashinyan urged people not to ignore high temps and be more mindful about others' health, saying that there is only so much the govt can do to reduce the spread, and that "individual responsibility plays a big role".

COVID / Pashinyan livestreams:

We can't put police on the streets to prevent people from kissing each other while greeting. It should be done by you. (Will COVID be the one that finally kills the gross habit?)

There is no need for everyone to wear masks. It's only needed for those who have symptoms or regularly contact a sick person. It's better for the general public to temporarily suspend handshakes, close contact, and practice hygiene.

This evening we'll test more people who were placed under quarantine in Golden Palace hotel 13 days ago. It's likely most will be healthy.

Schools will close until March 23rd. [Teachers will be paid while the schools are closed]. We could delay it if necessary.

I urge Armenian businesses to take advantage of global economic changes caused by COVID and look for ways to expand their businesses.

End of PM livestream.

COVID / war on kissing

Yerevan Puppet Theater signed a decision to temporarily prohibit people from kissing on its premises (its-happening.gif).

"When the virus goes away, the kisses will be allowed to be twice as warm and energetic," says the optimistic memo which assumes humanity will survive COVID.

COVID / soccer and church

Soccer league suspended the games until March 23rd.

Armenian Apostolic Church bishops prayed for people and sent a message reminding you to practice hygiene. Their sermons will continue.

COVID / banks give loan vacations

Several Banks reminded about using electronic transactions instead of attending offices. Some of them extended loan payment deadlines by a few months without a penalty. A debt vacation.

COVID / 2 more cases among those who were isolated

Today afternoon more test results came from Ejmiatsin. The traveler who came from Italy and infected 2 of her relatives yesterday ended up infecting 2 more. These people were already isolated after she was confirmed with COVID. The Healthcare Ministry is identifying anyone who had contact with them.

COVID / total cases / no home treating

There are 8 total cases in Armenia, 5 of whom are connected to this one visitor from Italy. "This is better than having 8 random people with COVID," said Minister Torosyan.

"Don't do homeopathy, go to the doctor if you have symptoms," says Ministry.

COVID / Visitors from Italy to be quarantined

The passengers coming from Italy this weekend will be automatically quarantined for 14 days upon landing, as reported yesterday. These are Armenian citizens who wanted to return home, and not random foreigners.

COVID / Italian's fabric factory / Hazmat team

Italian businessmen run a fabric factory in Vanadzor. A while ago one man from Italy visited the factory and later felt unwell. Today the dudez in hazmat suitz came a quarantined a factory worker who had physical contact with that Italian man.

The second Italian man, who recently visited the factory, was quarantined but his COVID test came negative. None of the Italians show symptoms.

In other news, 5 residents of Vanadzor are currently being monitored after reporting health problems. Their test results will be available later.

COVID / Italian flights suspended

Civil Aviation chief Revazyan explains that although it would sound good on paper to earlier ban flights from Italy, it wouldn't prevent people from coming through transit flights. The latter would make things harder at managing risk.

There will be a flight coming from Italy this Sunday, with Armenians abroad. The Civil Aviation and Healthcare Ministry are taking steps to isolate them before boarding the flight and upon landing at Zvartnots.

Future regular flights with Italy have already been suspended, according to Revazyan.

COVID / Nork hospital

Yerevan's Nork hospital's infections department has been reserved for COVID cases only. Other patients with infections were transferred elsewhere out of an abundance of caution. COVID / late afternoon

As of late afternoon, 292 tests have been done with 8 being positive. 7 no longer show signs of problems or fever. 1 patient has pneumonia and fever.

COVID / alcohol gel and masks production

7 tons of alcohol gel is being produced in Armenia daily. Businesses recently increased production. The demand is also high and the stores run out quickly, even though they receive new supplies every morning. There is no major price gauging.

Armenian businesses began producing surgical masks in small quantities. There are 1 million masks in Armenia right now. The commercial prices are somewhat high, at 150-200 Drams. Some sell it for 30-50 Drams.

COVID / no spike in 911 calls

911, what's your emergency?

I have symptoms.

Did you have contact with a tourist or did you travel abroad recently?

That is how 911 operates these days. There is no significant increase in calls in a Yerevan department that was interviewed. Around 780 calls per day. Some people call 911 even for 37c temperature to get tested for COVID.

If COVID symptoms are present, the emergency crew informs the Healthcare Ministry and transports the suspect to Norq infections department.

COVID / Iranian-Armenians want to move

A few ethnic Armenians with Iranian citizenship want to move to Armenia from Iran "because they feel safer there". The Diaspora Committee is looking into it. "We would have helped them immediately if they were Armenian citizens, but our options and obligations are different if they're Iranian citizens."

COVID brings you online classes!

State Pedagogical University will launch online classes due to COVID. Education Ministry urges all universities to refresh their websites and allow students to get class materials remotely.

COVID / watch out the rumors

Fake news was circulated about a Center District govt official, who meets many residents daily, being transported to a hospital with COVID symptoms.

COVID / all travel with Georgia suspended

All travel with Georgia will be suspended for 10 days beginning tomorrow. Armenian and Georgian citizens can return to their homes.

COVID / public transport sanitization

Shirak province is sanitizing public transport. Ejmiatsin, Vanadzor, and Yerevan are also doing it at some capacity.

COVID / Total 13 cases / Italian carrier came before the cases were found

Earlier govt said they're waiting for test results from 31 quarantined people at Golden Palace Hotel. These were people who came from Iran. (if you remember the govt immediately shut down travel with Iran when it burst over there, and quarantined visitors upon their airport arrival)

28 of these Golden Palace folks were healthy and 2 had COVID. That brought the number to 10.

Remember the Ejmiatsin resident who came from Italy? Her circle was isolated after she was tested positive.

This evening news came that 3 additional people from her isolated circle have been tested positive, bringing the total to 13.

The Ejmiatsin traveler was routinely visited by medics multiple times during the period when she was told to stay isolated, but she lied about not having a fever and symptoms and chose to participate in social events, infecting several others.

"There is no law for govt to force citizens to do certain things, but I asked the Justice Minister to draft a bill to punish those who have signs of illness but ignore it and end up infecting others during periods of major outbreaks like these. Around 100 people from patient's circles are quarantined in Ejmiatsin right now," said Pashinyan.

A French traveler who recently visited also tested positive. (numbers don't add up here, either 13 or 14)

"Could have we done anything more to prevent the spread? I don't think so. The Ejmiatsin traveler came on February 29th when Armenia didn't have recorded infections. She was contacted routinely to record her symptoms. She hid the symptoms. Even shutting down flights from Italy upon learning about recent outbreak would not have helped," said Pashinyan.

"1st lady Anna Hakobyan met Brazilian officials recently. Today we heard the news that these officials tested positive for COVID. Anna and I decided to isolate ourselves. We measured temps. We then learned that the Brazilian official's COVID case was fake news. We will take COVID test tomorrow just in case," said Pashinyan.

COVID / neighbors & world

Iran has >11,000 cases and 429 deaths. Ayatollah's aide is quarantined.

Canadian PM's wife and Tom Hanks are infected. Fake news was circulated about Brazil president having COVID.

Arsenal club's coach is infected. Mt. Everest has been shut down for tourists.

Azerbaijan has 15, Georgia 24.

COVID / origins of Wuhan Virus

It turns out, COVID began in Nov-2019. The first confirmed patient was a 55yo from Wuhan. Then 1-5 new cases popped every day for a month. Then... well, you know the rest.

China's Hubei province hasn't recorded new cases in 8 days, except within Wuhan. "The routine life is being gradually restored."

COVID / small but smart motherf--ker

It mutated.

Singapore scientists examined old and new cases of COVID and found that the virus removed 382 genes from itself. This made it less active, which made it harder for the immune system to detect it. This is a theory for now.



















Paid vacation https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1008521.html

Uni https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1008519.html

Fake news https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1008498.html

Mutation https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1008497.html

Alcohol gel https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1008454.html

Masks https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1008450.html

Georgia travel https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/182943

Shirak transport https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/182944

Masks https://factor.am/229329.html

Transit flights from Italy 2:51: https://factor.am/229416.html

911 calls https://factor.am/229548.html

Evening update. New cases. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/182958

cement factory workers vs CEO

BHK chief Dodi Gago's Ararat Cement Plant workers shut down the factory in a protest. They demand director Arystamyan to quit and apologize.

A worker claims they haven't received a full salary for 2 months.

"We went to the manager's office to peacefully discuss. CEO Arystamyan walked in and asked why we were here. Upon learning it was about salary, he said those of us who want to work can stay and those who don't can... an explicit language... We told him the same and left the room. Today we shut it down. We want Arustamyan to come, apologize, and quit as the CEO," says an employee.

A worker says Arustamyan has satisfied all the demands, including papers to submit his resignation.

Arustamyan is the director of Gago's Multi-Group business empire that runs the cement factory. He's also involved in a North-South highway construction fraud investigation as a suspect.


clinic embezzlement busted

The police report says:

The director of Saint Mary clinic violated contract laws and signed contracts with firms belonging to his friends in 2014-2016. A 37mln sum was paid illegally until 2019.

Other records were forged to exaggerate services and embezzle 27mln from the state. 2.5mln worth fuel was stolen in 2019.

A felony case is launched. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1008469.html

property embezzlement busted

The prosecutors say they busted more examples of abuse of power by former Property Assessment officials. The memo says in 2016 the officials purposely claimed a Yerevan property on Koryun St. was worth 3x cheaper before giving it away.

A felony case is launched. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1008458.html

Armenian soccer league without Armenians

Only 2 out of 9 clubs have the ability to play matches only with Armenian players. Everyone else relies on imported legionnaires, either from Russia or Africa.

Ararat FC's only 4 out of 31 are Armenian. During the match against Lori there wasn't a single Armenian Ararat player.

6/26 of Ararat-Armenia are Armenian. Only 3 play lengthy periods.

7/26 of Noah are Armenian. Only 1 Armenian against the match with Pyunik.

Same about others. The problem, says CivilNet, is that this doesn't allow soccer to develop among youth because instead of investing in training Armenian generation, the clubs prefer to import players.


passport office chief sacked after complaints by diasporan

The police chief fired the deputy-head and the head of the Police Passport Department who was appointed in 2015. The memo cites "routine staff changes".

The real reason might be different.

A few weeks ago a diasporan complained about lengthy bureaucracy while obtaining a passport. It went viral and Pashinyan received the open letter. The PM instructed the police chief and others to investigate if someone dropped the ball.

The govt has a draft bill that would cut passport application time in half and reduce the number of necessary trips.




anti-poaching bill / regulating wild animal trade / Gago's tigers

On Jan/17/2020 we learned that environmental activists complained about former oligarch's zoos keeping exotic animals like tigers "without proper registration and care". BHK chief Dodi Gago was accused of keeping a Begali tiger "for Instagram photoshoot". The govt was accused of not doing anything about it.

The Nature Minister says they drafted a bill to regulate this.

The current law was written in 2000 and has a symbolic nature. It doesn't define how things are enforced.

The new bill will amend 4 laws to fix this. Dozens of clarifications will be added.

Ownership, registration, exports, imports, keeping conditions, releasing animals to nature, sales, etc. will be regulated.

Trading of wild animals, or products created from wild animals, will become illegal unless their origins are proven to be legal. "This will make poaching less appealing."

As a result, keeping wild animals will become possible only with a license, and taxes could be collected.


Gago's lion

BHK chief Dodi Gago uploaded a pic of him feeding milk to a baby lion. "It takes great responsibility and attention to take care of any animal daily."

PIC: https://factor.am/229534.html

new ArMat lab opens

Lchashen school kids now have the opportunity to play with high tech with the opening of a new ArMat lab.

52 kids are part of an engineering group that plays with robots, 3D Printer, micro-controllers, design software, C++, etc.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fi5ep0/mar132020_daily_news_summary_pashinyan_wife/

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