YEREVAN (RFE/RL, Panorama) — Armenia’s government on Monday, April 13, extended by one month a state of emergency which it declared on March 16 following the first cases of coronavirus recorded in the country.
The government said that serious restrictions on people’s movements and a ban on many types of economic activity imposed by it later in March are still essential for slowing the spread of the virus which has killed 14 people so far.
During the extended emergency rule the government will also be empowered to requisition hotels or other private properties for accommodating people placed under quarantine.
At the same time, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s cabinet lifted virtually all restrictions on coronavirus-related news reporting. They were already softened significantly on March 26 following strong criticism from journalists and media watchdogs.
“If further monitoring detects a rapid spread of so-called fake news we could revert to those restrictions,” Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan warned during a cabinet meeting.
The Armenian Ministry of Health said in the morning that the total number of coronavirus cases rose by 26 to 1,039 in the past day. The ministry reported comparable daily numbers of new infections in the course of last week. The virus spread more rapidly in Armenia earlier in April and in late March.