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Albania schools to remain closed amid weather, flu concerns

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/01/2017

TIRANA, Albania — Albania is suspending the reopening of schools after the New Year's break because of frigid weather and concern about the spread of flu.

A Health Ministry statement on Tuesday warned that subfreezing temperatures will cover the whole country for several days, "creating favorable conditions for the further spread of the (flu) virus." It ordered nurseries, kindergartens, elementary and high schools, which were due to resume Wednesday, to remain closed this week.

The ministry warned people to avoid big gatherings, stay at home, and keep away from people with flu. It also offered free anti-flu vaccine to medical personnel, pregnant women, retirees and those with chronic illnesses.

Weather forecasters say that temperatures will drop to -15 C (5 F) this weekend and snow will cover the entire country, including the capital, Tirana.

Igli Totozani, the people's advocate, or ombudsman, called on authorities to offer temporary residence to homeless people and others in need of shelter from the cold.

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