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01 Apr 2020 | 09:37 PM UTC

Albania: Government extends lockdown measures indefinitely from April 1 /update 7

Albanian authorities extended existing lockdown measures on April 1 until the end of the coronavirus outbreak; further spread of the virus is expected in the near term

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Event

Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu announced on Wednesday, April 1, that lockdown measures in place to combat the spread of coronavirus will stay in place until the outbreak is over. Cafes, schools, restaurants and other public venues are closed and a 16-hour curfew was imposed between 13:00 and 05:00 (local time) on Tuesday, March 24. On Monday, March 30, the government introduced an electronic "exit permit" system that enables individuals to apply online for permission to leave their residence.

All commercial flights to and from Tirana Airport (TIA), Albania's only airport, were suspended on Sunday, March 29. Albania's land borders also remain shut. Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open, though some may have modified operating hours. Large public gatherings, including cultural and sporting events, have been canceled.

To date, the Health Ministry has confirmed 259 cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 15 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

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.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.