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Armenia Extends Closure Of Border With Iran Over Coronavirus Fears

Armenian citizens wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus returning from Iran last week.

YEREVAN -- Armenia says it will extend the closure of its border with neighboring Iran, where an outbreak of the coronavirus has killed dozens of people.

Speaking during a government meeting about coronavirus prevention on March 2, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said his country will also suspend its visa-free regime for Iranian citizens within the next five days.

Pashinian did not say how long the measures will remain in place.

The moves came a day after Armenia announced its first confirmed case of the virus, that of a 29-year-old man who recently returned with his wife from Iran.

Armenia closed its border with Iran, a hotvspot for the coronavirus in the Middle East, on February 23.

Iran's Health Ministry rtported 12 more deaths from the disease on March 2, bringing the total to 66 deaths, while the number of cases in the country has reached 1,501.

Many critics and outside experts have expressed concerns that Tehran is severely underreporting the magnitude of the crisis in the country, allegations the government has vehemently denied.

With reporting by Reuters