Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Albania continue to ease COVID-19-related restrictions, public transport in Tirana resumed as of July 10.

  • Alert Begins: 10 Jul 2020 05:58 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 25 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Easing of restrictions, some travel and business disruptions remain

Authorities in Albania continue to ease coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions, allowing public transport in Tirana to resume operations as of July 10 after four months of stoppage. The use of facemasks is mandatory on all public transport.

International flights to and from Albania have resumed from June 15. Only citizens of EU countries are permitted on flights to EU countries. Previously, authorities suspended flights in late March to stem the spread of COVID-19. Authorities have also allowed maritime transport to resume.

Albanian authorities previously lifted the daily nationwide curfew and travel restrictions from June 1; the curfew was introduced in late March. Residents and travelers can now move freely throughout the country. In addition, authorities opened all land borders and lifted the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement. Most nonessential businesses have reopened. Officials require employees to wear protective equipment and ensure social distancing in the facilities.

Large gatherings remain prohibited. Many nonessential public offices, museums, cinemas, and schools will remain closed indefinitely.

Authorities could institute further preventive restrictions, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

Background and Analysis
The easing of restrictions by the Albanian government is in line with actions undertaken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the beginning of the summer tourist season, and a decrease in infection rates. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

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. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

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.

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