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Armenia Summons Citizens Stranded Due to COVID-19

The government of Armenia has been organizing the return of citizens of Armenia stranded in various countries due to COVID-19 pandemic. Only from Russia, 1500 have returned with the support of Armenian authorities, with 2000 still on the waiting lists. In total, 22000 citizens of Armenia have returned home since March 14 when the state of exception (emergency) was announced.

On April 23, the government of Armenia organized yet another charter flight on Moscow-St. Petersburg-Yerevan route bringing back 230 residents of Armenia, most of them migrant workers. Many of them had been waiting at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport for days to que for the unannounced flight, in violation of the lockdown regime announced by Russian authorities and were eventually evicted after multiple warnings. Part of this batch of the stranded citizens had returned the day before, on a charter flight again.

The Embassy of Armenia in Russia has announced that the 433 passengers did not have to pay for the two charter flights on April 22 and 23, as Russian billionaire of Armenian descent Samvel Karapetyan’s “Tashir” Charity Foundation covered the costs.

Russia has been keeping its air borders closed since April 4 and land borders –  since March 30. Since closure of air, seven charter flights have been organized from Russia with a special intergovernmental agreement carrying 1500 Armenians back home.

The Embassy of Armenia in Russia continues actively supporting stranded citizens and pleads with them not to assemble at airports without notice and wait for the Embassy to contact them. In the meanwhile, many citizens, especially labor migrants who lost shelter and jobs, are placed at temporary accommodations covered by the Embassy and rich Armenians. Temporary accommodations were set up in Rostov-on-Don and Podolsk city of Moscow region, people are placed in hotels as well.

All returnees will be quarantined for 14 days before joining their families.