Armenia shutdown of Iran border doesn’t include restrictions on cargo shipments, repatriation
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 24, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has chaired a meeting of the governmental task force on preventing the novel coronavirus in Armenia, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
During the meeting the officials from multiple agencies discussed the global situation of the outbreak and the measures on preventing the virus spread to Armenia.
Healthcare Minister Arsen Torosyan briefed on the statistical data – the spread and death ratio – and presented the preventive countermeasures that are being taken in Armenia: the monitoring of arriving passengers and the technical preparedness of medical facilities.
Further measures, including actions in regard to the coronavirus outbreak in neighboring Iran were discussed. The Prime Minister has given respective instructions to the heads of stakeholder agencies.
“At the session of the Commission on Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus we discussed our actions regarding the measures aimed at preventing the coronavirus from entering Armenia, and the urgency of this discussion is due to the fact that our neighboring and friendly Islamic Republic of Iran already has coronavirus fatalities – 8 death cases, and we must take action. As a result of the discussion we decided that today at a government decision we will close for two weeks the land border and communication with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Of course there will be exceptions: cargo shipments will be carried out without restrictions, but the drivers carrying out the shipments will be under special monitoring and a special regulation of cargo transportation will be in force. No restriction will be taken for returning citizens – I am speaking about the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran currently in Armenia and the citizens of the Republic of Armenia currently in Iran, i.e. they can freely return to their country.
Certain, but not full restrictions will be applied on air traffic. These restrictions, this decision will be made for a two-week period, and during the two weeks we will be in closer contact with the official representatives of our friendly Islamic Republic of Iran to have a more complete assessment of the situation and also to jointly decide our future actions in this direction.
Overall I would like to note that there is no need to panic. Yes, there is a problem, but thank God that at least so far we have succeeded in avoiding having a coronavirus case, and we hope that due to the actions that we have taken we will be able to maintain this situation. But nevertheless I think we should have a very cold, sober and calm attitude to this situation, and the spread of panic moods and news certainly do not help in solving the problem. Let us also note that the Ministry of Healthcare of Armenia and the Healthcare and Labor Inspection Agency have all necessary technical measures for diagnosing the disease. And let us also note that this commission is functioning since January 30, and the border monitoring was heightened even before that, since January 24. Therefore it is very important to note that we aren’t responding to the cases of the disease in Iran, but rather we have begun this process a lot earlier and we hope that this method of work will be effective in the future as well,” the PM said, adding that the decision will be formalized and effective from today.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan