Armenia introduce new COVID restriction as infection surge

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Armenia has recorded 2,500 cases of a novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The country has confirmed Covid restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the disease as Covid cases are increasing dramatically.

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan had the disease on January 26, has also been vaccinated and got a booster jab, is now asymptomatic and will be working remotely; however, PM was also Covid positive in June 2020.

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Armenia recorded its first case of the Omicron variant on January 8 and rolled out the COVID pass system on January 22, entrance to disclosed public places or amusement venues limited to those who have a QR code indicating that they are vaccinated or Covid negative test.

According to the new law, the citizens are required to notify the QR code to verify their vaccination status.

Samvel Martirosyan, the digital security expert, emphasizes that the system does not protect user data, as it transfers information such as passport numbers to third-party apps used to scan the QR codes.

QR code scan will be able to notify the name, surname, birth date, passport number, patronymic of an individual, Martirosyan informed in his Facebook post.

On January 26, the ministry declared that all data from the system other than the name and surname will be concealed and that venues do not have to scan the code but only confirm that the app has marked them as safe.

Meanwhile, the country remains predominantly unvaccinated against COVID. Less than 28 percent of the residents have been fully vaccinated, according to official data.

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On January 27, Health Minister Anahit Avanesyan informed during a Cabinet meeting that people who are unvaccinated are mostly between the age of 35 and 60 years, and it is researched that the vaccination rate among 60 plus people has fallen down drastically.

More senior Armenians are specifically unvaccinated; only 18 percent of those over 60 have gotten two shots.

However, vaccinations have helped to facilitate infected people who need to be hospitalized, as only 5 or 6 percent of those with the disease are now in hospital.

Anti-vaccination opinion in Armenia remains high, and many have reacted positively to the new COVID pass system by simply deciding not to go out.

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