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Armenia says it is redeploying some of its hospital resources to treat COVID-19 patients amid what local health experts call a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Health Minister Anahit Avanesian said on March 19 that 12 medical centers are currently involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the South Caucasus country and new hospital beds are being added.

“But you know that this is not an unlimited resource, and we need to exercise caution,” Avanesian added.

The Health Ministry said on March 18 that 19 people had died from COVID-19 within the previous 24 hours, while the number of new coronavirus cases was over 1,000.

This is the same rate that Armenia had in the fall when the so-called second wave of the pandemic was observed globally.

According to official data, about 790,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus in Armenia since the start of the pandemic, with more than 3,300 related deaths.

The number of current active cases is nearly 10,000.

The latest wave of infections in Armenia came amid a weeks-long political crisis during which supporters of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and the opposition have been holding large-scale rallies.

The Health Ministry says it sees no need for a new lockdown at the moment, but warns that mandatory mask-wearing and social-distancing rules must be followed by the public to stem the spread of the virus.

Armenia’s current vaccination drive with the Russia-developed Sputnik V vaccine is targeting high-risk groups such as medical workers.