in

COVID-19: Armenian Parliament To Probe Government’s Response

The global death toll from the coronavirus is more than 937,000, with more than 29 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the respiratory illness.

Here’s a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL’s broadcast regions.

Armenia

Armenia’s ruling alliance has agreed to opposition demands for a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The My Step bloc expressed skepticism about the inquiry, which was requested in June by the opposition parties Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Bright Armenia (LHK), but said on September 16 that it would not impede the process.

The inquiry will take six months and will be conducted by a parliamentary commission headed by a member of the opposition, although most members will belong to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s My Step bloc.

BHK and LHK have accused the government of mishandling the coronavirus crisis, which has resulted in more than 46,000 infections and over 920 deaths in the country of just under 3 million.

The Armenian government has come under question for lifting its lockdown in early May, even as the number of coronavirus cases were on the rise.

The daily number of new infections peaked in early July and has shrunk by more than half since then, leading the government to reopen all schools and universities on September 15.

Iran

A top Iranian health official has warned of a “resurgence” of coronavirus cases as the country continues to battle the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak.

Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said on September 15 that travel and people not following health protocols were causing infections to surge.

The Islamic republic has experienced a steady uptrend in deaths and infections since reaching a brief low in early September, with total cases now at more than 407,000 and the death toll at 23,453.

“Forecasts show us moving toward the third wave of the coronavirus, and it seems the wave will take shape in Tehran much earlier than other provinces,” Alireza Zali, the anti-coronavirus coordinator for the capital said on September 14.

Iran has made wearing masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and repeatedly called on Iranians to refrain from traveling to slow the virus.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Armenian Service and agencies

Reference