YEREVAN (Reuters) – Armenia is extending emergency restrictions for another 10 days until April 10 in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday.
The tiny former Soviet republic of around 3 million people has reported 532 cases of the virus, the highest number in the South Caucasus region. Three people have died.
“We are doing this (extending the restrictions) to keep the situation under control,” Pashinyan said during a live session on Facebook.
Armenia on March 16 declared a month-long state of emergency and later tightened emergency restrictions to include shutting most businesses and restricting free movement. Only grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are allowed to remain open.
Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan said the government could tighten the restrictions further in the coming 10 days.
“We should become more effective and will involve other (law enforcement) bodies in addition to the police controlling the process more effectively,” Avinyan told a briefing.
In neighboring Azerbaijan, the death toll from coronavirus rose to five on Tuesday. The country has reported 297 cases of the virus.
Azerbaijan shut the metro system in the capital Baku on Tuesday until April 20.
The country of about 10 million people has also halted passenger flights and railway connections with Russia.
Only one check-point on a land border between the two ex-Soviet countries continues to operate in a limited capacity.
Another South Caucasus country, Georgia, had reported 110 cases of coronavirus as of Tuesday with no deaths.
(Reporting by Nvard Hovnannisyan; Additional reporting by Nailia Bagirova in Baku and Margarita Antidze in Tbilisi; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Gareth Jones and Ed Osmond)