Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Armenian authorities ease a number of COVID-19 restrictions as of May 4. Domestic travel restrictions lifted, many businesses reopen.

This alert affects Armenia

This alert began 04 May 2020 15:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: May 4
  • Impact: Business disruptions, movement restrictions,

Summary
Authorities in Armenia confirmed that a number of restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are lifted as of May 4. Individuals may now travel within Armenia without restriction, though public transport remains suspended and authorities reserve the right to impose quarantine regimes on specific areas dependent upon disease activity. Additionally, many businesses are permitted to reopen; cafes and restaurants are permitted to reopen but restricted to operating in open-air environments. Despite these lifted restrictions, the current state of emergency remains in effect until May 14; schools, malls, and markets remain closed.

Foreign nationals are currently prohibited from entering Armenia from countries the government has deemed as high risk for transmitting COVID-19. Currently, the list includes Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, the US, all EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The temporary travel ban excludes Armenian citizens, residents and their families, and freight transport.

Authorities are easing restrictions despite a rising number of new infections in recent days. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Armenian Government are unusual when compared to other regional governments that have waited for infection rates to be under control before easing restrictions. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV2-virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they could prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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