Former economy minister forecasts how long COVID 19 situation will last in Armenia and how many people will be infected

06.04.2020 14:40
Former economy minister forecasts how long COVID 19 situation will last in Armenia and how many people will be infected

YEREVAN, April 6. /ARKA/. Armenia is currently in the stage of spreading a new type of coronavirus, but, unlike Russia, it is closer to the end of this stage, Armen Yeghiazaryan, Associate Professor of the Department of Economic Theory and Problems of Transition Economics of the Russian-Armenian University and Former Minister of Economy of Armenia, said in his article "Analysis and Forecast of the Spread of Coronavirus in the World as of April 2, 2020," posted on the university’s website. "As of April 3, the incidence rate in Armenia was 248 people per million people," he said.

Yeghiazaryan says that in terms of population density and territory, Austria and Switzerland are the best analogy to Armenia, there are 1,280 and 2,260 cases per 1 million people and 1.4% and 2.85% mortality rates in these countries respectively.

The article states that as of April 4, the mortality rate in Armenia after more than a month of the spread of coronavirus was 0.95%. With a comparable number of cases in Austria (860 people on March 15), the mortality rate stood at 0.12%, and in Switzerland at 0.81% (860 people on March 12).

"Therefore, the stabilization stage in Armenia may begin somewhere in this interval, according to an optimistic estimate, closer to Austria, around 1,500 cases per 1 million people. With the current pace of the spread of COVID-19 in Armenia at 11.7% (average for a period between March 29 and April 3) it will take 16 days to get into this interval, and the number of ill people will be about 4,300," the economist says.

Yeghiazaryan also presented an assessment of the effectiveness of the quarantine introduced in Armenia on March 17th.

"As it is known, the goal of quarantine is to save human lives by limiting contacts between people, as a result of which the spread of the coronavirus should be significantly reduced, though the cost of this is the extension of the pandemic and very serious economic consequences,” he said.

The author explains that effectiveness can be determined by comparing the pace of spread of the pandemic before and during quarantine and comparing them with the results of other countries (China is chosen as the comparison base, which, along with South Korea, is considered the best example of effective quarantine).

"Quarantine in China was introduced on January 27 first in Wuhan, and then in other cities and provinces of China and was in force in Wuhan for 59 days. The first case occurred on December 31, and by the time of introduction of quarantine in China, there were 830 COVID-19 infection cases and 26 deaths. So, in this regard, the Armenian government acted quite promptly - quarantine was announced 17 days after the detection of the first infected and by the time of announcement of quarantine, 77 cases of coronavirus infection and not a single death were recorded," the economist says in his article.

Yeghiazaryan says that for incomplete three weeks of quarantine in Armenia, its results are quite comparable with the Chinese ones, and this means that it is quite effective.

“Another question is whether it is worth striving to achieve results comparable to Chinese in the future, significantly increasing the duration of the pandemic and exacerbating the depth of the impending crisis,” he says.

The publication presents data from a study by Ex-Minister of Economy of Armenia Vahram Avanesyan, according to which every day of quarantine costs $ 51 million to Armenia in direct and indirect losses of GDP, which is about 0.4% of GDP in 2019.

"For reference, the continuation of quarantine until the end of April will cost us all 2.2 billion dollars, that is, about 16% of last year’s GDP," Yegiazaryan summarizes.

A state of emergency is in force in Armenia from March 16 to April 14. Restrictions on free movement and certain types of economic activity in Armenia in the state of emergency (initially introduced for the period from March 24 to March 31) were extended until April 12 inclusive.

As of April 6, there were 833 confirmed cases infection with the coronavirus in Armenia as well as 62 cured and eight dead patients. -0---


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