Armenia is taking wide-ranging precautions to prevent the spread of influenza A virus subtype H1N1 and I’ve just experienced those measures myself.The whole thing started on the plane, about 40 minutes before we got ready to land in Zvartnots.
A charming Czech stewardess handed out a sheet of paper, asking to fill it in.
“I don’t need this,” I said, thinking it is an immigration form. “I’m a citizen.”
“Everybody has to fill this in,” the girl explained, “it’s a requirement by the Armenian authorities as part of anti-swine-flu measures.”
The paper was asking for my sit on the plane (apparently to determine who else I might have come in contact with while on the plane), contact details and plans on where I’m going to stay in Armenia.
We landed soon. I was sneezing and coughing like crazy after two weeks of Prague-rain experience and sleepless nights at marvelous Czech pubs.
“Oh, well! They’ll definately take me in and hold for a couple of days, suspecting swine-flu,” I thought to myself and bravely walked out to passport control – to face my destiny.
Passengers flocked out to plane’s exit. Most were Armenians, some were Diasporans. There were the VIP meeting service girls (hot!), and a lady with a camera on a tripod.
“Spyurkahays,” I thought to myself, “Making videos of first unforgettable visit to motherland.”
“Actually, it’s not a bad idea,” I went on thinking. I always wanted to make photos and video’s of the new Terminal at Zvartnots.
Sneezing again as I took out my photo camera, I noticed the lady directing her camera at me. Right! I can smile and look charming for her, no problem. I opened my camera’s shutter.
“Hey you! Photos not allowed,” a commanding voice yelled.
“How come video’s are allowed for her, and photos – not allowed for me?” I yelled back with frustration.
UPDATE: On july 28th, 4 days after my arrival the Sanitary Control service of Gyumri called me and told me, that they will visit my house there as part of the anti-flu measures. They also warned me, that a doctor will visit me in my Yerevan house to check if I’m healthy. WOW!