As the coronavirus continues to spread in Armenia, the country’s health minister warns that the authorities may soon be unable to treat infected people showing mild symptoms of the disease.
“I certainly don’t want that day to come, but one day we will not be able to go after every case,” Arsen Torosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on April 26.
From that moment, the country will only treat patients who are in a serious condition, the minister said, adding: “We don’t know when that day will come.”
The Armenian government imposed drastic restrictions on people’s movements and ordered the closure of most businesses in late March, after which the daily rise in the number of cases fell significantly.
That led the authorities earlier this month to start reopening some sectors of the economy and ease transport restrictions.
However, the Health Ministry reported a sharp rise of new coronavirus cases last week. On April 27, it reported 62 new cases, bringing the total to 1,808, with 29 deaths.
Torosian said it was increasingly difficult to trace people who had come in contact with those infected because of what he called the “multitude” of the sources of infection.
The minister said one such source was hospitals and other medical centers that are treating COVID-19 patients.
“We are now focusing on stopping the spread of the disease inside medical centers and on protecting doctors, as well as those patients that are not infected with coronavirus,” he said.
All people testing positive for the virus in Armenia have been taken to hospitals or temporary medical centers.
The authorities have also quarantined thousands of people who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients or returned to Armenia from other countries. These people have undergone coronavirus tests at the end of a two-week confinement.