Due to an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection rates, authorities in Albania announced on Dec. 2 that they will indefinitely extend the nation's existing pandemic-related restrictions. The current nationwide nightly 2200-0600 curfew will remain in force. Moreover, residents may only leave their homes for essential work and health emergencies. All restaurants, bars, and cafes remain closed except for delivery services. Both indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Protective face coverings remain mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.
International flights and maritime transport continue to operate in Albania. Moreover, all land borders are open, and no mandatory quarantine requirement is in force. Public transport is operating in Tirana. Most nonessential businesses are open. Workers are required to wear protective equipment and adhere to social distancing standards inside their places of employment.
Authorities could amend COVID-19 measures depending on changes in disease activity in the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions