Politics 20:40 24/10/2020

Coronavirus thrives in Karabakh's bomb shelters - AFP

Close quarters, poor ventilation and no masks: in the cellars of Stepanakert, the capital of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh province, residents who have not fled fierce fighting may be safe from shelling, but not coronavirus, AFP reports.

Adjoining basements beneath one unassuming three-storey building in the city have been repurposed as a bomb shelter, where residents are seeking refuge from frequent bouts of shelling by Azerbaijan's forces, including on Friday evening.

The largest room in the basement -- around 50 square metres with a ceiling lower than 2 metres (6.5 feet) -- serves as the sleeping quarters. Around ten mattresses and blankets are placed on stone benches built against the walls and the earthen floor is carpeted with cardboard boxes.

A few dim lamps hang from the ceiling over an ageing wood stove in the middle of the room, its chimney running to an outside wall.

Lusine Tovmasyan used to run a medical testing centre in Stepanakert.

But when fighting erupted four weeks ago, the 44-year-old began working for the health authorities, carrying out coronavirus tests at the city's main hospital or at the homes of residents unable to travel.

The sixty-year-old woman with a shawl over her shoulders is tested in the living room of her apartment on the ground floor and experiences similar discomfort, muttering a few words in a weak voice and grimacing.

"We do an average of 60 tests per day," says Tovmasyan, the only person among a half-dozen women in the cellar to be wearing a mask.

"The infection rate is quite high," she says because "people are living in groups in basements without masks".

"Between 40 and 60 percent of people test positive. It depends on the day".

After swabs are processed in the Armenian capital Yerevan -- around four hours away by road -- Tovmasyan says health workers compile lists of whose returned positive and the people they were in contact with.

There is no testing at an infectious diseases clinic near the central hospital in Stepanakert, but the facility does treat patients with coronavirus symptoms.

Nurses are busy in one of the wards administering intravenous drips for three seated and masked men.

Samvel Galstyan, 62, doesn't know whether or not he has coronavirus. He came to the facility because he had "a high temperature".

"It's cold in the basement. You go to bed and get up without changing your clothes. You can't stay there so you come in and out often. Hot, cold, hot, cold, and here I am," he said.

The chief doctor on the ward, 63-year-old Raya Simonyan, estimates that 90 percent of Stepanakert's remaining residents have coronavirus, but admits she has no official figures.

"The situation is very bad (...) A majority of residents are sick," she says.

Back in the basement, a brown-haired 15-year-old teenage girl briefly emerges from under a large blanket before disappearing again.

Next to her on the edge of the bed, the girl's mother is staring vacantly.

Her husband and son are fighting at the front, she says, and she does not know where exactly they are although she speaks to them regularly.

"We want peace and for the war to end as soon as possible," she says tearfully.



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

19:35
No incidents registered on Armenian-Azerbaijani border – MoD
The operational situation remained stable along the entire length of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on February 26 and 27. No border incidents...
19:11
Gas pipeline attacked in Syria
Al-Jabsa-al-Rayyan gas pipeline was attacked in the Abu Khashab area in Deir Ezzor countryside, in Syria. According to SANA news agency, ...
18:35
President refuses to sign Pashinyan's decree on dismissal of the Chief of the General Staff
The President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian refused on Saturday to sign the draft decree on dismissing the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed...
17:38
Gagham Manukyan about Ara Saghatelyan's arrest: Who is capable to arrest the enemy of the Turk?
Member of ARF Dashnaktsutyun Gegham Manukyan addressed the opposition rally at Baghramyan Avenue, speaking of the ongoing days in Armenia,...
16:54
Russian, Armenian defense ministers discuss situation in Nagorno-Karabakh
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Armenian counterpart Vagharshak Harutyunyan have discussed over the phone the situation in...
16:25
Vazgen Manukyan: There is one solution Armen Sarkissian can offer
"The President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian can come up with only one solution - send back Pashinyan's decree on dismissing the Chief of...
15:54
Air temperature to go up in Armenia
No precipitation is predicted in the territory of Armenia in the daytime of February 27, on 28, on March 3-4, Hydromet meteorological service...
15:30
Opposition says authorities to attempt provocations at Baghramyan avenue
The opposition Homeland Salvation Movement announced on Saturday that authorities are attempting to carry out provocations at Baghramyan Avenue,...
15:09
Armenian FM stresses need for right atmosphere to start talks with Azerbaijan
Armenia does not refuse dialogue with Azerbaijan, but it is necessary to ensure specific conditions for it, Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian told...
14:40
At least 16 die after COVID-19 vaccination in Switzerland
At least 16 people have died in Switzerland after being vaccinated against the coronavirus, Sputnik reported, citing the Swiss Agency for...
14:28
Catholicos Aram I: Armenia ‘on the edge of the abyss’
Armenia is “on the edge of the abyss”, Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia said on Saturday. “The chaos inside...
14:11
Ombudsman denounces Azerbaijan’s efforts to politicize issue of Armenian POWs’ return
Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan denounced the Azerbaijani authorities’ move to politicize the return of...
12:58
Stage being set up on Yerevan’s Baghramyan Avenue ahead of opposition rally
Opposition activists demanding Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's resignation have blocked Baghramyan Avenue in central Yerevan for...
12:40
Lawyer on army chief's dismissal: Armenia's president has ‘only two choices’ at this point
Lawyer Robert Hayrapetyan touched upon the powers of Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian in connection with the proposed dismissal of...
11:45
Armenia reports 283 new coronavirus cases, 7 more deaths on Feb. 27
Armenia has confirmed 283 new cases of coronavirus in a 24-hour period, bringing the national tally to 171,793 as of 11 a.m. Saturday, February...
11:21
HRW documents unlawful Azerbaijani attacks on medical facilities and personnel in Artsakh
Three unlawful attacks on medical facilities by Azerbaijani forces during the six-week armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) have come to...
10:55
Armenian Church commemorates Patriarch St. Cyril of Jerusalem and others
The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates on Saturday, February 27, St. Cyril the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Cyril the Bishop of Jerusalem and...
10:48
Mediaport: Armenian president ‘stunned’ after meeting with army’s top brass
Mediaport Telegram channel revealed details of a meeting of Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian and the military’s top brass held...
10:21
Barcelona boss Koeman forced to cut press conference short after nosebleed
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman was forced to interrupt his own press conference on Friday, after suffering a nose bleed. The Dutchman sat...
10:02
Updates on road conditions in Armenia
Some roads are closed in Armenia as of Saturday morning due to adverse weather conditions, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports. In...
20:45
All political disagreements should be resolved in a peaceful manner, CoE Secretary General says
The Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić has made a statement concerning the ongoing developments in Armenia. “I...
20:38
Vazgen Manukyan: Decisive days for Armenia are ahead
Vazgen Manukyan, the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement’s candidate for interim prime minister, believes the coming several days will...
20:22
No incidents registered on Armenian-Azerbaijani border – MoD
The operational situation remained stable along the entire length of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on February 25 and 26. No border incidents...
19:54
Aliyev trying to support his partner in Armenia in a difficult moment - Serzh Sargsyan
The Office of Armenia's third President Serzh Sargsyan responded on Friday to the lies voiced by Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev at the...
19:26
Futuristic performance "The execution of Ceaușescu or Death to Traitors" staged during the opposition rally
Armenian protesters demanding the resignation of PM Pashinyan and his government continue blocking Baghramyan avenue in central part of Yerevan....
18:55
Putin discusses the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh with Security Council
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed operations of Russian peacekeepers and a humanitarian mission to Nagorno-Karabakh at a meeting with...
18:48
Armen Sarkissian visits the General Staff Headquarters
Armenia's President Armen Sarkissian visited on Friday the General Staff Headquarters of the Armed Forces to meet with the Chief of the...
18:21
PACE monitors extremely concerned by developments in Armenia
PACE’s co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Armenia, Boriana Aberg (Sweden, EPP/CD) and Kimmo Kiljunen (Finland, SOC are 'extremely...
17:43
Ara Hakobyan: Authorities support our enemies, cooperate with them
The statement of the General Staff of Armenia's Armed Forces is about the fact that Pashinyan and his government are incompatible with...
17:01
Yerevan State University to resume offline classes starting March 15
By the decision of the Rector at Yerevan State University Gegham Gevorgian, starting from March 15, Yerevan State University will resume offline...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}