Sunday, May 24 2020 17:30
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Zalkaliani on the statement of Armenia` Health Minister: I want to  believe that this was a misinterpretation by the media

Zalkaliani on the statement of Armenia` Health Minister: I want to  believe that this was a misinterpretation by the media

ArmInfo. The Armenian side regrets that the statement by the Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan which was incorrectly interpreted, upset the Georgian counterparts.   Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani announced this on the  Imedi TV channel.  According to him, through diplomatic channels, the  Georgian side demanded clarifications from the relevant state  departments of Armenia.

''Naturally, as soon as we learnt from the media about such  statements, we immediately responsed through diplomatic channels: Of  course, to put it mildly, this was very incorrect in relation to a  neighboring and friendly country, including from officials, from such  high officials as the Minister of Health>, the minister said,  News-Georgia reports.

Zalkaliani said that the Ministry of Health of Armenia presented his  position through the Georgian Embassy in Yerevan. ''Recently, our  embassy in Yerevan contacted me. They reported that the embassy  received a phone call from the Ministry of Health of Armenia. The  Head of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Health  called and on behalf of the Minister of Health expressed regret that  his statement, which was incorrectly interpreted, upset Georgian  colleagues, "he said.

The Armenian side emphasizes that "the statements of their Minister  of Health, voiced in the media, were misinterpreted." The Georgian  Foreign Minister believes that this information must be  double-checked and specified.  , he said.

The Foreign Minister also recalled that Georgia's efforts in the  fight against COVID-19 are highly appreciated by international  partners, including the World Health Organization.  "I want to  believe that this was a misinterpretation of the media and this  concern expressed by the Minister of Health of Armenia in a recent  call to the embassy is sincere," he added.  As ArmInfo previously  reported, referring to the pandemic situation in Armenia and Georgia,  Torosyan stated that the anti-epidemiological system and healthcare  in Georgia is different from the Armenian one, and not from the best  side. "The Georgian healthcare and anti-epidemiological systems are  significantly different from the Armenian ones, and not in a good  way. Our anti-epidemiological system is stronger, and this is a  fact," he said.  The head of the Ministry of Health of Armenia  believes that the small number of infections and deaths among  patients with coronavirus in Georgia can be explained by shortcomings  in terms of the methodology and quality of tests carried out in a  neighboring country.

These reports were followed by an acute reaction from the medical  establishment of Georgia. Senior health officials assured that the  country's coronavirus statistics are completely transparent.

The head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health  of Georgia (NCDC) Amiran Gamkrelidze called the statements of the  Minister of Health of Armenia Arsen Torosyan, who doubted the  Georgian statistics on coronavirus, not diplomatic.

Touching upon Torosyan's statement that among the citizens who  arrived from Georgia to Armenia, many patients with COVID-19 were  identified, including truck drivers, Gamkrelidze recalled that for  such cases there is a regulation of the "international convention on  observance of the rules of public health of the World Health  Organization" ( WHO), whose participants are Georgia and Armenia. As  the head of the NCDC explained, if in Georgia the virus is confirmed  by foreigners, then the authorities will inform WHO, as well as the  state whose citizen the infected person is. "Based on this, if there  were such cases, Mr. Arsen should have notified the World Health  Organization, as well as us," Gamkrelidze said. He also commented on  Torosyan's statements regarding the transparency of the death  registration methodology in Georgia. At the same time, Gamkrelidze  noted that today in Georgia "all patients with pneumonia in all  hospitals and all outpatient visits where pneumonia is diagnosed are  tested."

The first case of coronavirus infection in Georgia was recorded on  February 26. Since then, in the country, the disease was confirmed in  728 people. Of these, 508 patients recovered - this is almost 70% of  all recorded facts. Currently, 208 cases remain active. 12 people  infected with coronavirus died.

Given the favorable epidemiological situation, the state of emergency  and curfew were canceled in the country from May 23. It is expected  that Georgia is one of the first in Europe to open its borders to  foreign tourists - from July 1. However, so far many restrictions  continue to apply in the country. So, for example, in all enclosed  spaces wearing protective masks is mandatory, crowded social events -  weddings, commemorations, birthdays, as well as any cultural and  sports events are prohibited. Some types of economic activity are  limited - shopping centers, casinos, hotels, restaurants and cafes  are closed. Public transport and intercity passenger traffic were  completely stopped. 

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