Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Albanian authorities lift COVID-19-related daily curfew and reopen land borders from June 1. Some restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Albania

This alert began 01 Jun 2020 19:03 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: From June 1
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions remain

Albanian authorities lifted the daily nationwide curfew and travel restrictions from June 1; the curfew was introduced in late March to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 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. Daycare facilities, as well as gyms, parks, and hotel beaches, are allowed to reopen.

Previously, authorities eased other restrictions, allowing hairdressers, shopping malls, and dental clinics to reopen. Coffee shops and bars were allowed to open May 18 with only outdoor seating. Many other nonessential businesses were permitted to reopen from April 27. Officials require employees to wear protective equipment and ensure social distancing in the facilities.

Large gatherings will not be permitted until at least June 23. The Albanian Civil Aviation Authority suspended all international flights at Tirana International Airport (TIA) from March 23; cargo, humanitarian, and repatriation flights will continue. All ports of entry have closed indefinitely. Officials have suspended ferry services with Greece and Italy. The transportation of goods continues. 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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