There are no confirmed Coronavirus cases in Artsakh yet, so there is no panic at all.
While the Armenian public follows the course of Coronavirus-related events, presidential and parliamentary candidates in Artsakh are actively involved in the election campaign, taking part in meetings and publishing posts in social media.
Some Facebook users have advised the authorities to cancel March 31 elections. No official opinions have been expressed in connection with this.
Not all of the 14 presidential candidates are actively involved in campaigning and meetings. Some of them have made statements about the Coronavirus issue.
On March 16, Arayik Harutyunyan, the chairman of Free Homeland party and one of the most active campaigners, made a statement, saying that “electoral meetings in closed premises will be suspended, taking into consideration the risks of the Coronavirus break-in and spread.”
“To effectively continue the electoral campaign, we’ll mainly take advantage of the allotted airtime of public and private TV channels, Facebook live transmissions and open-air meetings with small groups of people, during which we’ll take various preventive measures,” the statement says.
Arayik Harutyunyan has also advised the authorities to take preventive measures against virus break-in and spread.
Presidential candidate Bella Lalayan has also made a statement on Coronavirus. She has addressed all the candidates with a request to suspend all the electoral meetings and concerts in closed premises.
She has also addressed the government institutions with a request to take prevention measures against Coronavirus.
Instead of meeting with voters, Bella Lalayan has been conducting her campaign exclusively through the media and social networks.
Vitali Balasanyan is one of the active campaigners. Yesterday he addressed the head of Artsakh in relation with the Coronavirus threat, mentioning the steps that the president should take.
Balasanyan has not suspended his electoral meetings, including in closed premises.
There are no Coronavirus-related statements in the Facebook pages of the other candidates. They continue their meetings with voters, including in closed premises.
The only exception is Davit Babayan’s post where he says,
“Neither Coronavirus, nor Azerbaijan will halt the elections in Artsakh.”
Reporters and camera operators of Artsakh Public TV and Radio company have been working alongside the candidates and covering their meetings.
Mary Davtyan, the head of the TV and radio company, says that reporters should cover the meetings, regardless of their formats.
“They have been working in their usual mode, with some caution. There is no need for emergency measures yet,” Davtyan says.
Nevertheless, there are hand sanitizers in the building, whereas wearing masks is entirely within the discretion of reporters and camera operators. Today the company will discuss the possibility of encouraging elderly employees to stay temporarily at home.
In order to prevent the Coronavirus spread and stabilize the current epidemic, the Artsakh Central Electoral Commission has made a statement about taking preventive measures related to conducting the March 31 elections according to standards.