March 15, 2020 / 7:10 PM / 24 days ago

Armenia shuts down fourth-largest city over coronavirus

YEREVAN, March 15 (Reuters) - Armenia has shut down its fourth-largest city, Vagharshapat, with a population of around 46,000 people, in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said.

Eighteen coronavirus cases out of 28 registered in Armenia were reported from Vagharshapat, also known as Echmiadzin, the spiritual centre of the country, west of the capital Yerevan.

Local people will be able to leave the city only after having their body temperature taken, Pashinyan said on Sunday.

A decision on the need to postpone Armenia’s referendum on constitutional reforms, scheduled for April 5, will be made later depending on how the situation with the virus develops, Pashinyan said.

Armenia is currently keeping 300 people in quarantine over the risk of the coronavirus. The first case of the flue-like virus was reported on March 1, and the patient has already recovered. (Reporting by Nvard Hovhannisyan; editing by Andrey Ostroukh, Alexander Smith, William Maclean)

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