2020 March 22

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Mar/22/2020 -- What's happening in Armenia? -- Today's major stories on COVID, Anti-Corruption, Post-Revolution Armenia, 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.


Court sentences Kocharyan's PizzaGang member

On September 19, 2019, a group of "pizza-eating" Robert Kocharyan activists attacked an anti-Kocharyan protestor outside of a court building during Kocharyan's trial. The victim was transported to a hospital. (the term "pizza-eater" has recently became associated with Robik's activists)

Witnesses said 4-5 men attacked the victim after he referred to Robik as a "criminal".

--

The court has just sentenced to one of the assailants Arman Minasyan to 3 years in jail for causing serious bodily injury.

https://factor.am/232691.html

2019 incident: https://youtu.be/D3tNLrJ_Id4?t=221

Wizz Air enters the Armenian market

Low-cost European airline WizzAir made its first flight round trip between Vienna-Yerevan. Could not have picked a better time.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183616

Ոսկե հորթը

Arsenal wants to sell the world's best soccer player Henrikh Mkhitaryan for €25 million. Will Roma pay to seal the deal? We'll find out this Summer.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1009561.html

Emergency taskforce suspends some non-essential businesses

The govt has banned the operation of trade facilities, except food stores.

Bars, clubs, dance floors, cinema, gambling, are also banned until the end of Emergency Situation.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183647

Emergency Taskforce could soon remove the media-gag

Declaring Emergency Situation allowed the govt to suppress non-official stories, rumors, fake news about COVID, to reduce panic.

Emergency taskforce commander Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan met representatives of several media outlets to discuss the gag's conflict with freedom of expression.

Avinyan suggests he could remove the media gag soon. "I agree that it's ineffective. Also, today the govt has other methods to combat misinformation. The public trusts COVID reports coming from us," said Avinyan.

https://news.am/arm/news/567621.html

194 cases as of Sunday / Stats / Origins / Symptoms

Pashinyan went LIVE:

194 cases. 0 above the age of 80. 12 above the age of 65.

78% of patients don't have a high temp. 1% have >39c.

75% are related to Ejmiatsin wedding and Yerevan factory super-spreaders who came from Italy and hid their symptoms from govt.

The Ejmiatsin spread is contained. Yerevan is the main focus.

The world doesn't know for how long COVID situation will last, maybe 1-1.5 years. Every country gets infections. Our biggest challenge now is to reduce deaths.

We have to take special care of the elderly. The Post Office will delivery pensions to homes instead of having seniors visit offices.

https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/836957460129950/

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183688

6 COVID patients have complications / more patients could get healthy soon

Healthcare Minister Torosyan:

6 of the 194 patients have pneumonia combined with other underlying conditions that require intensive care, but not artificial ventilation. They're stable.

Another 8 patients have pneumonia without other complications.

Pretty soon the ~recovery period ends for some patients. They'll be double-tested to see if COVID is gone.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183676

2nd patient discharged after recovering

Minister Torosyan: the 2nd COVID patient was discharged after testing negative. His mother stayed in the same room for 21 days but didn't get infected.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183652

how to get tested?

You can't get tested after every cough. There need to be multiple symptoms or facts that put you at risk.

Emergency commander Avinyan says they're working with Healthcare Ministry to create an app that will ask dozens of questions to decide whether the applicant is risky or not. "This is how South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan are doing it."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183680

https://news.am/arm/news/567608.html

hoping for the best, preparing for the worst

Emergency commander Tigran Avinyan says so far Armenia has a preventative approach. "But if things get out of control and we can't contain the spread, like in some developed countries, we must have enough beds to house the patients. We're preparing ventilated facilities that could house many patients. If all else fails we'll use more hotels. This would be the worst-case scenario."

https://news.am/arm/news/567611.html

more hospitals / more sel-isolations

Healthcare Ministry will expand the list of hospitals that'll receive COVID patients. Yerevan will have 3 (up from 1) and Provinces 2 (up from 0).

"There are only so many quarantines we can do. At some point, the suspects will be instructed to self-isolate themselves at home. The Parliament is discussing a bill to punish those who violate the self-isolation order," said Minister Torosyan. (the bill is scheduled for a vote on Monday)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183611

dedicated shopping hours for elderly

Emergency commander Avinyan says they'll soon instruct shopping owners to dedicate 10am - 12pm for the elderly only. "I encourage young shoppers not to visit stores at these hours. The elderly are the most vulnerable. We should reduce their risk of getting infected."

https://news.am/arm/news/567617.html

Govt to issue loans to farmers / Help cooperatives / Economic stimulus

Pashinyan said:

Next week we'll provide more details on the economic stimulus for businesses and the economy. Govt will subsidize up to 70% of some projects.

0% interest rate on agricultural loans for smart barns, water-efficient irrigation systems, greenhouses, etc.

If banks don't provide loans then the govt itself will issue it to individual farmers.

Farmers with a good credit record can get 0% interest loan, while those with a bad record can join others to create a cooperative and receive a loan. These cooperatives will be given training, management help.

https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/836957460129950/

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183688

Govt to aid workers laid off due to COVID / How to work under COVID

Pashinyan said:

PAROS system will have a new branch to provide social aid to those who lost their jobs due to COVID. We're monitoring the job market live. There will be various social packages.

We're also exploring what to do if COVID lasts for too long. We might have to find ways to work under these conditions. Our collective success depends on the level of discipline of every individual.

We don't have a deficit in consumer products. Fuel prices are also low.

https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/836957460129950/

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183688

how to avoid getting fat while staying home

Nutritionists would like to remind you to eat more fruits and vegetables (at least for now), and less calorie-rich fatty foods while you binge-watch TV series at home. Liquid, water, tea, as a side-dish.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183539

Artsakh conducts temp checks at Armenian border

5,000 people were checked at the border between Artsakh and Armenia in the past few days. 25 of them had 37c temp:

If the person has high temp but hasn't had contact with a known COVID patient, or, the person doesn't have high temp but had contact with a COVID patient, he's told to go home and self-isolate. Local clinics call him every day to check for symptoms.

The patrol takes the person's contact info and gives him masks and gloves.

No known COVID cases in Artsakh.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183641

Education Ministry holds an online parental-teacher conference

Minister Arayik spoke with parents about online-learning classes, dedicated websites, classes on public TV, airing physical exercise materials on public TV in-between classes so kids won't stay sited for too long, the importance of keeping kids at home, the upsides of staying home and having more time to read, etc.

He then read the book "The Little Prince" for the school kids. https://youtu.be/4UPe_GRt-bA

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183629

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183680

Yerevan transport ridership plummets

Looks like people are listening to the advice of staying home.

Metro went from 75k to 15k daily rides. Buses 70k vs 20k. 900 mini-buses used to service the public daily, now 500.

City official: Yerevan has reserve buses that can serve the public in the event the private carriers decide to quit due to low ridership.

Yerevan is sanitizing large apartment complexes and private transport.

City is consulting with private stores to train them on how to disinfect, protect the workers.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/183633

https://www.facebook.com/ArmenianUnifiedInfoCenter/videos/496163977723133/

Gyumri puppet theater broadcasts

The Puppet Theater of Gyumri uploaded the Barekendan performance for electronic viewers.

https://www.facebook.com/1947365148627820/videos/1044524249261700/

techies help doctors to catch COVID with AI

Armenian high-tech firm SmartClick created an AI algorithm that scans lung images and catches COVID-related pneumonia.

95% accuracy. Several scans simultaneously. The AI code is on GitHub software repository.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212921245185938&set=a.1356860621624&type=3&theater

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/279307/

https://github.com/smartclick/covid-19-checker

Happy Birthday to this COVID suspect

Doctors in medical suits visited one of the people, who is self-isolated "just in case", to bring her a cake and wish a Happy Birthday.

To make it extra spicy, doctors put candles so she can blow her probably-COVID-infected breath at all over the place. 👍

Surpriiiiiiiizzz: https://www.facebook.com/armenpress/videos/921672074931263/

COVID timeline (being updated)

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

February 24: 0 infections. 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: 1 infection. He was among the Iranian-Armenian repatriates. The other 31 are quarantined in Golden Palace hotel.

March 2: 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. Schools shut down again.

March 13: 13 infections. Europe tightens border checks. WHO declares pandemic.

March 14: 20 infections. Armenia closes border with Georgia, too, after closing it with Iran 30 days ago. Govt-run theaters and leisure POIs 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. Ban on mass gatherings. Medical facilities under govt-control.

March 16 evening: 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. 1243 quarantined. Education Ministry works on remote classes. Bus drivers monitored against over-crowding. Quarantined people monitored by police.

March 19: 122 infections. Export of some medical products is banned. Remote Education classes begin. 3.5mln masks ordered. Techies helping to map COVID. Large donations arriving to help fight COVID.

March 20: 136 infections. Govt requires private firms to keep employees apart, provide hygiene products, check temps. Salaries paid to suspended culture-workers.

March 22: 194 infections. Some non-essential businesses suspended. Dedicated shopping hours for the elderly encouraged.


Link to original report and comments: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fn9ckb/mar222020_whats_happening_in_armenia_todays_major/


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