YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Armenian hospitals are increasingly struggling to cope with the pandemic due to a continuing surge in new coronavirus infections, Health Minister Arsen Torosyan warned on Sunday.
A resurgence in cases officially registered in Armenia began in mid-September and accelerated after the outbreak on September 27 of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Armenian Ministry of Health reported in the morning that 2,314 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared with 1,371 cases registered on October 15. It had reported 850 single-day cases during the previous peak of the pandemic in late June.
The ministry also reported 23 more deaths caused by the disease, bringing the official death toll from COVID-19 to 1,180.
As of Sunday morning, there were 25,412 active coronavirus cases in the country of about 3 million. More than 800 of these patients are hospitalized in a serious or critical condition, Torosyan said, adding that about 450 others are awaiting hospitalization.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service, the minister said that the health authorities are now scrambling to increase the nationwide hospital capacity to deal with the increased influx of infected people. He said that Armenian hospitals may soon be unable to treat all patients in urgent need of life-saving medical aid if the spread of the disease continues unabated.
“If we are unable to hospitalize everyone there may be [coronavirus-related] deaths outside hospitals,” Torosyan warned. He again pleaded with Armenians to wear masks and follow other safety rules set by the government.
Many people stopped taking these precautions after the start of the deadly war that has overshadowed the pandemic.
Torosyan acknowledged that the continuing war has contributed to the second wave of COVID-19 infections. “I don’t know to what extent, but it has definitely aggravated the situation,” he said.