On Tuesday, March 24, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced a nationwide lockdown until Tuesday, March 31, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. All individuals are required to self-isolate and will only be allowed to leave their homes to go to the grocery store or pharmacy. Citizens leaving their homes will need to complete and carry a standardized form about their movement and bring along a passport or ID card. Only essential businesses will remain open, while restaurants and cafes will be closed. The government has encouraged the public to use online services wherever possible. In addition, all shops, pharmacies, and banks will only serve senior citizens above 65-years-old from 10:00 to 12:00 (local time).
Armenia has been a state of emergency since Monday, March 16, due to COVID-19 and the government has introduced measures to prevent further spread of the virus. Armenia's borders with Iran and Georgia remain closed, while all educational institutions remain suspended. Foreigners from countries heavily impacted by the virus will not be allowed entry to the country. Additionally, all gatherings of more than 20 people are banned. These restrictions will remain in place until Thursday, April 16.
As of Wednesday, March 25, authorities have confirmed 265 cases of COVID-19 nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.