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Armenian Schools To Reopen Amid Coronavirus Fears


Armenia -- A woman wears a medical mask during a church service in Yerevan, March 1, 2020.

Armenia’s universities and schools will resume classes on Monday one week after being closed by the government following the first case of coronavirus confirmed in the country.

The government has reported no new cases of the virus since then. Health Minister Arsen Torosian said on Friday that all 31 persons placed under quarantine on March 1 continue to “feel well” and show no respiratory disease symptoms.

They were isolated at a hotel in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor because of being in physical contact with a 29-year-old Armenian man who tested positive for the virus after returning from Iran last week. Earlier this week, Armenian authorities tightened controls at the partly closed Armenian-Iranian border.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Yerevan on Thursday, Education Minister Arayik Harutiunian said there is no reason to extend the one-week closure of the universities, schools and kindergartens. A senior official from his ministry, Ashot Arshakian, told the Armenpress news agency afterwards that they will reopen on Monday.

The first coronavirus case also led to the last-minute cancellation by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian of a March 1 demonstration which was due to mark the 12th anniversary of the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan. Even so, the Armenian authorities did not ban or restrict other public events in the country.

In another sign of their confidence that Armenia is not at risk of a major coronavirus outbreak, Pashinian announced on Friday that he we will start campaigning next week for a “Yes” vote in the April 5 referendum on constitutional changes drafted by his administration. He said he will visit all Armenian cities and towns and hold rallies there.

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