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16 Mar 2020 | 01:31 PM UTC

Armenia: Government declares state of emergency, closes borders with Georgia and Iran March 16 /update 3

Armenia declares state of emergency and closes borders with Georgia and Iran March 16; entry for foreign travelers restricted

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ARM

Event

On Monday, March 16, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared a state of emergency and introduced new measures to combat the spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Starting on Monday, Armenia's borders with Iran and Georgia will be closed and all educational institutions will be shut down. Foreigners from countries heavily impacted by the virus will not be allowed entry to the country. Armenian citizens will only be allowed to leave the country by plane and will be subject to a mandatory quarantine upon their return. Additionally, all gatherings of more than 20 people are banned. These restrictions will remain in place through Thursday, April 16.

To date, there have been over 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Armenia. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

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.

Advice

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 you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.