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First Case of novel coronavirus confirmed in Armenia

1 March 2020
Screening for the coronavirus at a border crossing in Armenia. Photo: ArmenPress.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced this morning that the first case of Covid-19 has been confirmed in Armenia.

Pashinyan stated in a Facebook post that the case was confirmed at 3:00 AM on 1 March. The virus has been identified in a 29-year-old man, an Armenian citizen, who returned to Yerevan from Tehran by plane with his wife on February 28. 

The flight was the last of the two flights organized by the Armenian authorities to repatriate Armenian citizens from Iran after Armenia closed the land border and cancelled flights between the two countries.

Iran has, in the past week, become one of the major epicenters for the disease. With 593 infected and 43 fatalities, according to the Iranian health ministry— Iran currently has the highest death toll outside of China. 

According to Pashinyan, the patient is stable and his fever has subsided. The patient's wife, who had been on the same flight as him, has tested negative for the virus. 

The Prime Minister added that he expects roughly  30 citizens to be placed under quarantine today.

Comments from the Ministry of Health

Health Minister Arsen Torosyan held a press conference at noon today.

He said that the infected man arrived in Yerevan showing no symptoms, but developed them shortly after arrival. He was brought to a hospital by ambulance. 

The minister also said that the driver who took the man and his wife to their home, as well as the ambulance crew that took the man to the hospital, and anyone else who has come into contact with him, have been quarantined at a currently out-of-use hotel in the city of Tsaghkadzor. 

According to Torosyan, for now, there is no immediate risk to anyone, however, as a precautionary measure spring break at Armenian schools will be moved to this coming week. Universities and kindergartens will also be closed for the week.    

To date, 117 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Armenia with only one person testing positive.  

Torosyan said that the spread of the virus will slow down with warmer weather, but cautioned people to avoid being around anyone who shows flu-like symptoms.

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