Imagine for a minute what would happen if, according to the statistics of coronavirus infected, Georgia and Armenia “swapped” places. Say, if in Armenia on May 23, 2020 there would be not 6302 infected with coronavirus, but like in Georgia - 728. But in Georgia - on the contrary - how many are now in Armenia.
In this case, the Armenian and pro-Armenian media outlined the catastrophic situation in Georgia day and night, how Georgia could not cope with the coronavirus epidemic. In social networks, Armenian nationalists would gloat - supposedly, "Georgians deserved it." And in the Russian Federation, pro-Armenian media would also certainly recall the laboratory of Lugar, which "infects everyone." But Armenia would be cited as an example and would be shouted to the whole world about “outstanding achievements of ancient Armenian medicine”.
However, the fact remains that now the epidemic situation in Armenia with the coronavirus is worse than in any of the neighboring countries. And this was recognized by none other than the former Prime Minister of Armenia Hrant Bagratyan. Here is what he wrote on May 23 on his Facebook page:
“Today, coronavirus numbers were released on May 23. The situation is terrible. 374 cases in one day. In Georgia - 2 cases. The total number of infected in Armenia is 6302, Georgia - 725, Azerbaijan - 3855. Per 100,000 people per capita: 217 in Armenia, 19 in Georgia, 38 in Azerbaijan, 183 in Turkey, and 165 in Iran.
This is the assessment of the activities of the NP (Nikola Pashinyan) and the commandant of TA (Tigran Avinyan). The idleness of government officials makes coronavirus a source of a new genocide. 46.6% of patients were cured in the RA, Georgia - 70.2%, Azerbaijan - 62.2%, Turkey - 75.1%, Iran - 77.7%. And this is an assessment of the activities of AT-a (Arsen Torosyan) from the Ministry of Health. Compared to the West, Iran, and Turkey, the mortality rate in Armenia is slightly lower. This is characteristic of all post-Soviet territories. They say that the reason is vaccination. Like a limited number of nursing homes. Nevertheless, recently this number in Armenia has also been growing rapidly. Today, we have 77 deaths, while Georgia and Azerbaijan together have only 58, ”says Hrant Bagratyan.
Hrant Bagratyan expressed his opinion after the “coronavirus scandal” broke out between Armenia and Georgia, and in fact a peculiar “coronavirus information war” was declared by Yerevan, moreover, by none other than the Minister of Health of Armenia Arsen Torosyan.
It all started with the fact that Arsen Torosyan, at an online meeting of the Public Council on the topic “Health Policy of the Republic of Armenia in the Context of the Coronavirus Pandemic”, touched on the difference between the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Armenia and Georgia.
“Our anti-epidemiological system is stronger than in neighboring Georgia. This, of course, I do not boast of, I simply state as a fact - at a professional level, and not at a political level. We are interested in that our neighbors have a strong anti-epidemiological system, and all are protected. The same applies to Iran, the Russian Federation. These three countries are important for us, in terms of flows we become vulnerable,” said Torosyan.
The head of the Ministry of Health of Armenia also touched on the difference in methodology: “There is a difference in the methodology for conducting tests for citizens. Of course, I don’t have 100 percent information, to be honest, I don’t think this is our priority goal, but maybe not all of the 40,000 tests conducted by Georgia are PCR tests. Some of them could be rapid tests for coronavirus, which we do not use in practice since they do not inspire confidence.
Secondly, do citizens with mild ARVI symptoms take the coronavirus test, how do we do it? I do not know the answer to this question, and I do not want to know since this is not our problem.
Thirdly, are coronavirus statistics included those who have died from pneumonia, who was diagnosed with COVID-19? We are definitely turning on. At the same time, we keep separate statistics of cases when death in patients with coronavirus occurred for another reason.
To be honest, I don’t know this level of transparency in any other country".
“As a direction to be studied: when we diagnose arrivals in Armenia through Georgia, including Georgian drivers, and we receive positive tests in very large numbers. Can we now assume that in Georgia, when 1-2 or 6 cases are announced per day, not all cases are confirmed and become statistics? I don’t have a final answer to this question, ”said Torosyan.
According to Arsen Torosyan, it turns out that Georgia "incorrectly diagnoses" cases of coronavirus and "underestimates" the statistics. Speaking about drivers with coronavirus supposedly coming from Georgia to Armenia, he does not consciously mention that the vast majority of these drivers are Armenians and they are transiting through Georgia from the coronavirus of Russia, affected by the epidemic.
If Mr. Torosyan was honest and principled, he should have recognized that the Armenian transit is the main factor in the danger of the spread of the epidemic in Georgia. After all, it is difficult to control the Armenian drivers who are in transit, as well as their contacts.
But apparently Arsen Torosyan decided to conduct propaganda in the "best traditions" of Armenian nationalists, who brazenly lie and spread provocative information about neighboring countries (including Georgia).
Officials of Georgia were forced to respond to statements by Arsen Torosyan. In particular, the head of the treatment section of the Tbilisi Infectious Diseases Clinic Marina Ezugbaia, commenting on the statement of the Armenian Health Minister, said that Georgia does not hide any of the detected cases of coronavirus infection.
“All our data is correct, we do not hide a single case. The number of sick patients today is 728, and if someone doubts this, I do not know. My opinion doesn’t matter, there is only one truth - we have 728 confirmed patients, it makes no sense to hide the facts, as well as to speak on this subject, ”said Ezugbaia.
At the same time, the director of the Tbilisi Infectious Diseases Hospital (Center for Infectious Pathologies, AIDS and Clinical Immunology), the head of the clinical control group COVID-19 in Georgia, Tengiz Tsertsvadze, bluntly said that the statement by the head of the Ministry of Health of Armenia Arsen Torosyan doubted the Georgian statistics on coronavirus, is incorrect and the Armenian official should apologize for them.
Tsertsvadze cited the latest statistics on the incidence of coronavirus in Georgia and Armenia, noting that “against this background, the minister’s statement that the anti-epidemiological system in Armenia is stronger than the Georgian one causes a smile.”
“I don’t think that we should teach Torosyan that a high-ranking government official should not make such statements, all the more, without any arguments,” Tsertsvadze’s statement posted on the Facebook page of the Tbilisi Infectious Disease Hospital says.
He believes that there is no reason to question Georgia’s statistics on COVID-19.
“I want to say that in Georgia, the identification and registration of patients with COVID-19 is carried out according to the highest international standards, transparently. Their high reliability has not yet been called into question by any, absolutely not a single international institution or expert. I believe that the minister should either justify his incorrect (to put it mildly) assessments or at least disavow his statement and apologize,” he said.
Tengiz Tsertsvadze also expressed his willingness to share the country's experience in the field of COVID-19 management by inviting Arsen Torosyan and other interested parties to Georgia.
“Georgia systematically receives high marks from the UN, WHO, and other international institutions, as well as individual authorities who have achieved success in the management of COVID-19. We invite Arsen Torosyan and all interested parties to Georgia to share the country's experience in the management of COVID-19, ”said the professor of virology.
He also recalled that the Lugar Public Health Research Center operates in Georgia and there are no laboratories of such a high level in the entire region of the South Caucasus. According to Tsertsvadze, laboratory tests in the center of Lugar are carried out using test systems of the highest quality, which eliminates the error.
“I don’t think that in Armenia there are a better laboratory, methodology, and test systems,” the professor noted.
Knowing the Armenian nationalists and functionaries of the Yerevan regime, one had to doubt that Arsen Torosyan apologized for his slander against Georgia. But there is another danger that in the current situation cannot be underestimated. Deliberate sabotage of the Armenian special services for the spread of infection in Georgia is quite possible in order to “confirm” the statements of his Minister of Health and at the same time create problems for Georgia as a state. The likelihood of a “biological attack” from the Yerevan regime after Arsen Torosyan declared Georgia an “information coronavirus war” is not at all excluded.