Authorities in Albania have mandated the use of facemasks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces from Oct. 15 as part of their efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Other measures still in force include a ban on large public gatherings and the closure of most entertainment and cultural facilities. Previously authorities allowed indoor areas of bars and restaurants, as well as swimming pools, to resume operations despite rising infection rates.
International flights and maritime transport have been operating in Albania since June 15. Moreover, all land borders are open and no mandatory quarantine requirement is in force. Public transport is operating in Tirana. Most nonessential businesses have reopened. Employees are required to wear protective equipment and ensure social distancing inside the establishments where they work.
Authorities could amend COVID-19 measures depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.
Background and Analysis
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.
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.