Cabinet approves bill on granting healthcare crisis powers without formal state of emergency

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 12:47, 27 August, 2020

YEREVAN, AUGUST 27, ARMENPRESS. The Cabinet has approved a package of bills on amending several laws regarding the protection of population in emergency situations that would allow the authorities to have the levers for fighting the coronavirus pandemic without formally being in a state of emergency.

Armenia originally declared a nationwide state of emergency in March and it was extended every month ever since.

“A situation is possible when the decrease of transmission rates will enable us to fight the pandemic and protect citizens’ lives and heath without the legal regime of the state of emergency,” Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan said.

The currently active state of emergency ends on September 11th, and if the amendments pass parliament by then it won’t be extended, he said.

The amendments would grant the authorities the power to declare a lockdown without a formal state of emergency in the event of virus outbreaks. The laws will also allow suspension of border crossings, restrictions on movement, or defining self-quarantine or isolation.

However, the phone tracking system for revealing direct contacts will no longer be active under the new law. It also doesn’t envisage the suspension of economic activities.

The Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan said the laws – developed jointly with health authorities – will enable the authorities to carry on with the COVID-19 response without the state of emergency regime.

Reporting by Norayr Shoghikyan; Editing and Translating by Stepan Kocharyan