2020 March 18

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Mar/18/2020 -- Daily News Summary / Property embezzlement busts skyrocket / 110 COVID cases / 150bln economic stimulus being drafted, loans, aid / Police monitoring the quarantined, crowded buses / fake news gag / Remote education / 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.


state property embezzlement busts = 2.5x the past 9 years combined

Prosecutors found instances of state property embezzlement. In 2018-2019, they uncovered 82bln in property embezzlement alone, which is 2.5x higher than the prior 9 years combined. 1136 examinations in 2019.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183313

Armenia's emergency declarations

Govt declared Emergency a few days ago. It was the 3rd case in modern history.

1st in 1996 when president Levon Ter-Petrosyan declared it after elections.

2nd in 2008 when president Kocharyan declared it after elections. This is when March 1st happened.

3rd brought to theaters near you by Wuhan torololawalrus.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183321

it don mattr if u young, stay stronk

If COVID advances to a severe stage (14% worldwide cases), it'll trigger a severe response by the immune system. The immune system will then go berserk and permanently damage the lungs. The bastard makes you destroy yourself.

If it reaches a critical stage (6% will), the immune system can damage the whole body. Internal blood pressure drops. Septic shock. Organs fail. Death.

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51214864

expanding the hospital to prepare

Healthcare Ministry isn't waiting to see what could happen. They began building an attachment to the infections hospital to house up to 40 more COVID patients if necessary.

Nork infections hospital also provides psychological services to patients and family members available in-person or Viber/WhatsApp.

PIC https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183294

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1009070.html

2 super-spreaders in Armenia / no cases in Artsakh

So far 84 cases, with 72 of them related to Ejmiatsin wedding and Yerevan factory person-to-person transmission.

813 tests in Armenia.

13 tests in Artsakh. All negative.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183329

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183333

COVID stats / hotspots / transparency

Pashinyan said:

1243 are being monitored under isolation or self-isolation.

84 confirmed so far. 1 healed. 0 deaths. 0 critical. 0 have >39c temp. 6 have 38c temp.

1st recorded case was the Iranian visitor. We managed to identify and stop the spread on time, in part thanks to their cooperation.

2nd notable case was Ejmiatsin resident from Italy. It spread to many others but now we're slowing it down through quarantine.

3rd notable case was Yerevan factory worker who also spread to others. 99% of all recent cases are related to this. We're identifying the circle.

Note that had the (early on) travelers listened to our instructions and self-isolated, we wouldn't have this situation.

Another case is in Charentsavan. Infected people visited from France. They didn't socialize with many others. It was easy to isolate their circle.

--

4th company will join to produce alcohol-gel in Armenia. The fact that stores run out quickly indicates a certain level of "panic purchasing" of alcogel. There won't be a shortage of alcogel.

--

Our transparency (proactive detection) can make the world believe we're a danger. In reality, we're the safest one. We report all defections within an hour. We'll continue this way. I doubt others are this transparent.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183310

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183312

110 cases / Italian super-spreader hid symptoms

Pashinyan said:

110 cases so far. We have identified and isolated the Ejmiatsin wedding circle.

The second super-spreader is an Italian businessman who visited a factory in Shengavit, Yerevan a while ago. He was instructed to report any symptoms, but he took meds and hid it from us. He then flew back to Italy 2 days later, after infecting Yerevan colleagues.

75% of all cases are related to Ejmiatsin and Yerevan factory.

I don't want to point fingers at anyone, but this is proof that every individual has important responsibilities. We need a cultural change.

A person drives under a red light and views it as an advantage. Then he drives under COVID's red light and infects his relatives. This is an indication that we should change our attitude towards the law, towards fellow citizens.

I have the right to sneeze, but the person in front of me has the right to be protected from my sneeze (cover your mouth).

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183357

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183382

150bln economic stimulus / loans to be co-subsidized / agriculture

Pashinyan:

The world economy is uncertain. $2 trillion economic vacuum will be created. We'll monitor the demand to take advantage of the gap.

Soon we'll draft a bill to inject 150bln into the economy. We still have to identify which sectors.

25bln to aid businesses who take loans to pay salaries, buy raw products. We'll co-subsidize the loan's 50% with a 0% interest rate. We'll also subsidize the interest they would need to pay to the bank.

We'll help the businesses that are innovative and competitive. There is no going back.

We're rapidly working to cancel agricultural interest rates to encourage agricultural work because there will be a worldwide demand for produce.

30bln package for emergency social aid for ordinary residents.

Full interview: https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/1090498421334944/

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183357

police warning drivers with many passengers

Govt earlier banned buses from being crowded. The police used patrols to find and warn violating drivers.

https://youtu.be/JJbXWYXKKag

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183352

bending the curve

Hundreds of people who had physical contact with COVID patients have so far been quarantined for 14 days in Kotayk and Tavush provinces. They're being supervised.

One group has already been cleared to go home. "Special thanks to workers and volunteers," said Kotayk governor Romanos.

--

A Caucasian man with a brown beard and an electric guitar enters the server:

uhmmmm I cracked a cold one called Kotayk, while in quarantine in Kotayk, oooh yeaaaah, ummm babe.

You gotta drop the Corona, have sip of my bolola, oh yeaaah. mmmmm babe.

But you said no, and I said hey, then they came and took you away, oh nooo, m'babe.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183296

donating and volunteering

President Sarkissian, CC chief judge Tovmasyan, Healthcare Minister Torosyan and others donated salaries to COVID fundraising hotline. 1st lady signed up to volunteer.

45mln donated so far.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183306

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183307

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183334

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183330

Ejmiatsin travel throttling removed

Govt earlier closed 27 out of 30 entrances and exits from Ejmiatsin city to check all drivers' temps.

The govt believes this is no longer necessary because the "Ejmiatsin wedding circle is known and monitored".

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183354

police will monitor the self-isolated

The Emergency Command unit decided to involve the police to make sure those who arrive and are instructed to stay home, actually stay home.

More risky ones are forcefully moved to govt-monitored quarantine areas. The Golden Palace hotel is full.

In other news, several Armenian visitors from Italy initially tried to resist quarantine. Others chose not to fly to Armenia upon learning they'd need to be quarantined for 2 weeks.

"Those who violate isolation requirements will be penalized," said the emergency taskforce.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1009149.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1009154.html

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183385

police asked several outlets to remove info / fake news investigated

Emergency Situation gave the authorities the right to gag non-official COVID-related news "to prevent fake news, panic, etc."

Several media outlets were asked by the police to remove non-confirmed or non-official COVID-related stories about Armenian prison visits, Russia covering up their true number of cases, etc.

The outlets asked the govt to clarify the definition of false rumors, panic, etc. so they won't face penalties. Others want the gag lifted altogether.

--

The authorities are currently looking for a social media user who spread widely circulated fake news about one of the known medicines curing COVID.

https://factor.am/231487.html

pensions to be delivered / deadlines to be delayed

The govt is negotiating with HayPost post office to deliver cash to those seniors who get their pensions with non-electronic means, instead of having seniors travel to HayPost locations.

A bill is being drafted to delay social services related deadlines.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183308

more govt agencies suspend public contact

The SIS and Emergency Ministry won't accept physical visits for now.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183339

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1009092.html

famous actress gets tested

Famous Women's Club and Mer Bake actress Luisa Nersisyan had COVID symptoms. She spent the night at a hospital and got tested. It came negative.

"People who live 3,000 years develop all sorts of immunity to prehistoric viruses." If you don't hear that joke in the next episode of Women's Club, then something is wrong with producers. (only viewers will get the joke)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183345

remote education intensifies...

Education Minister Arayik:

The pilot program to train schools to provide remote education will take the quality of education to a whole new level. The plan was formed before COVID and scheduled for 2021, but now is a great opportunity to test it.

Kids view the internet and smartphone as a means of entertainment, but those can also be used for education.

Universities already have online education at some capacity. We're working on having others to catch up.

--

We'll pay close attention to high-schoolers so they can give exams and graduate so they can be drafted to the army. We'll work with the Defense Ministry.

--

Public TV will air educational programs. We'll have a YouTube channel with all the classes. We'll cooperate with UCOM ISP to have them broadcast these classes for free (GB not metered). Students will also receive orientation courses online. Rostelekom also made an offer.

We're working with governors to disinfect regional schools to prepare them for kids' future return.

End of Minister's speech.

--

Dasaran.am online education platform has new Classes section. Apps are available: https://hetq.am/hy/article/114657

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183323

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183325

https://factor.am/231178.html

COVID has a song

Singer Hayk Petrosyan has a new song about bololavirus and people staying home.

https://www.facebook.com/hayk.petrosyan.5/videos/3014339271951468/

Index of Economic Freedom 2020

Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom 2020 gave Armenia "Mostly Free" mark with 70.6pt up from 67.7pt, a big jump.

Georgia 12th

Armenia 34,

Azerbaijan 44

Moldova 87

Russia 94

North Korea 180

https://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1009102.html

http://arka.am/en/news/economy/armenia_improves_its_economic_freedom_score_dramatically_in_heritage_foundation_s_index/

COVID timeline (being updated)

January 30: govt forms COVID Taskforce to monitor the spread of this new virus.

February 24: no infections in Armenia yet. Govt shuts down the border with Iran. Iranian cargo drivers banned from traveling through Armenia.

February 29: Ejmiatsin super-spreader arrives from Italy. She's already infected but doesn't know yet. Later develops symptoms but hides it from govt. Attends a wedding.

March 1: 1st recorded infection in Armenia. Iranian-Armenians arrive. 31 of them are placed in quarantine in Golden Palace hotel.

March 2: still 1 infection. schools close for 1 week.

March 10: still 1 infection. Italy declares full quarantine.

March 11: 4 infections. The 3 new cases came from Italy.

March 12: 6 infections. Ejmiatsin wedding super-spreader, who came 13 days ago, is finally detected.

March 12: all schools shut down again.

March 13: 13 infections. Europe tightens border checks. Some countries close borders. WHO declares a pandemic.

March 14: 20 infections. Armenia closes border with Georgia, too, after closing it with Iran 30 days ago.

March 14: theaters and other govt-run leisure places close.

March 15: Ejmiatsin travel throttled. Drivers checked.

March 16: 52 infections. STATE OF EMERGENCY. More foreign travel restrictions. Auto-quarantines for some, isolation for others.

March 16: Ban on mass gatherings. Ban on foreign travel. Medical facilities under govt-control.

March 16: it is revealed that Ejmiatsin isn't the only person-to-person hotspot. Yerevan factory workers getting infected.

March 17: 78 infections. Govt reveals that they've been doing mass tests. Many cases detected "accidentally". 95% have no symptoms. 600 quarantined.

March 18: 110 infections. Ejmiatsin wedding and Italian factory are super-spreaders. Education Ministry works on remote classes. Bus drivers monitored against crowding. Quarantined people monitored by police. 1243 quarantined.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fkvlv7/mar182020_daily_news_summary_property/


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