Armenian humanitarian group continues mission in Syria despite COVID19-related restrictions
YEREVAN, APRIL 17, ARMENPRESS. Armenia’s humanitarian mission in Syria recorded great achievements in a short period of time, Arkadi Tonoyan – representative of the group conducting humanitarian mission in Armenia’s Consulate General in Aleppo, said in an interview to Armenpress, introducing the activity of the humanitarian group.
-Mr. Tonoyan, these days a lot of countries in the world are taking various measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Syria is not an exception as well. Can you please tell us what actions the authorities of Syria are taking in this regard and what restrictions they apply?
-The Syrian authorities are taking a number of preventive measures. In particular, a state of emergency has been declared in the country from March 16, as well as some restrictions have been applied. The urban, provincial and inter-provincial traffic has been suspended. As part of the restrictions a curfew has been declared starting from 18:00 until 06:00 in the morning, movement of people is banned in these hours. During the weekend the movement of people is limited starting from the daytime, from 12:00 to 06:00. I would like to highlight the actions taken by the Ministry of Health. In particular, the Ministry deployed laboratories in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Homs provinces which can test up to 100 people daily. The responsible people assure that this number can be raised to 200-300 daily. In addition, according to the agreement reached with the education field representatives, 28 schools in Syria have been attached to the Health Ministry to serve as isolation spaces if needed. The number of people infected with coronavirus in Syria is more than 30, out of whom 5 have recovered. 2 death cases have been registered.
-Given the current situation, how the activity of the Armenian humanitarian mission is being organized? What kind of preventive measures are being taken to avoid getting infected?
-Armenia’s humanitarian group conducts its mission with certain restrictions, taking into account the current situation. Necessary preventive actions are being taken to properly organize the operation of the humanitarian group. All disinfection works are being done in the humanitarian center in a daily regime. The general location of the staff is being disinfected three times a week. The staff of the humanitarian group works very professionally, carries out preventive measures. I would like to note that none of the group members faces healthcare problems.
-During these days the role of doctors, medical staff is specifically emphasized, and the Armenian doctors in Syria are providing medical care to the locals. In what directions our specialists are working?
-Our specialists fulfill their duties in a very professional manner. Because of the current situation less visits are taking place. But in any case our specialists fulfill their tasks even under certain restrictions. They are provided with protective clothes and disinfectants. Our doctors provide service at multiple directions – pediatrics, gynecology, surgery, etc. We have success in all these fields.
-Recently the Armenian humanitarian group delivered medical items to some of Aleppo’s hospitals. How the assistance process is organized? What is needed?
-Yes, a few days ago several hospitals of Aleppo were provided with medicines, medical items by our humanitarian group. These works are being carried out by the efforts of Armenia’s Consulate in Aleppo in joint partnership with the local medical centers and healthcare representatives. During the meetings they inform what medical items they need. And this information is sent to the Armenian authorities. After receiving the respective aid it is distributed between the hospitals.
-In various occasions it is reported that the Armenian specialists have established warm relations with both the Armenian community and the local residents in Syria. What will you say in this respect?
-Yes, you are right, we have warm relations both with the Armenian community and the locals. The Armenian community in Aleppo, in particular in Syria, has a high reputation. Armenians have their special place thanks to their behavior, work, activity. And we could not be away from this process. We always feel the attention. There are people here, both Armenians and representatives of other nations, who studied in Armenia. Many of them want to again visit Armenia.
Interview by Anna Gziryan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan