Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania (March 16, 2020)

Location:  Albania

Event:  There is an ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan, China.  The global public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, with more than 100,000 reported cases worldwide.

On March 9, 2020 the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection announced the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Albania.

The Government of Albania has implemented measures to limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Closed all schools until March 23, 2020.
  • Suspended all flights and ferries between Albania and Italy until April 3, 2020.
  • Imposed vehicle restrictions: Cancelled all sporting events, cultural events and other large public gatherings in Albania until April 3, 2020.Cancelled all sporting events, cultural events and other large public gatherings in Albania until April 3, 2020.
    • Personal vehicles are only permitted on the road to commute to work during the hours of 0600 and 0800 and then 1600 and 1700.  Drivers of private vehicles on the road outside of these hours face the loss of their driver’s license and a fine of up to 5,0000 Euros.
    • Emergency vehicles, government vehicles and vehicles transporting foods and medicines are permitted on the roads outside of the restricted hours.
    • Individuals traveling to the airport may take personal vehicles or a taxi during the period of the driving ban.  Be prepared to show copies of plane tickets or flight itineraries at check-points en route to the airport. Please note, only individuals with plane tickets and drivers may be in the vehicles – no guests are permitted.
  • Cancelled all sporting events, cultural events and other large public gatherings in Albania until April 3, 2020.
  • Closed all restaurants, bars and night clubs nationwide until April 3, 2020.
  • Closed all indoor activity centers for children, gyms, sports centers, swimming pools, internet cafes, cultural centers, recreational areas including the park at the artificial lake, and entertainment centers until April 3, 2020.
  • Restricted all public transportation until April 3, 2020.
  • The Albanian government has implemented police and military vehicle checkpoints to identify passengers who have travelled to WHO high-risk regions for COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Individuals who fail to comply with the self-quarantine mandate face an administrative fine of 5,000 euros.
  • Requested those who are concerned they may have contracted COVID-19 through exposure to other vectors to self-quarantine at home and contact the Albanian government at the medical emergency phone number 127 should symptoms consistent with the virus appear.  English speaking staff are available to assist non-Albanian speakers.
  • Closed borders with neighboring countries:Implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Visit the website of the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection (in Albanian) and the Institute of Public Health (in Albanian) for additional information on these new measures.Implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Visit the website of the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection (in Albanian) and the Institute of Public Health (in Albanian) for additional information on these new measures.
    • Closed all land borders between Albania and Montenegro.
    • Closed all border crossings between Albania and Kosovo until March 28, 2020. No one will be permitted to cross at the land borders except for citizens of Albania or Kosovo who are returning to their home country, government vehicles, ambulances and commercial goods.
    • Closed land borders between Albania and North Macedonia.
    • Closed borders (land, sea and air) between Albania and Greece to vehicles moving in both directions except for commercial transit.
  • Implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Visit the website of the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection (in Albanian) and the Institute of Public Health (in Albanian) for additional information on these new measures

Actions to Take:

Assistance: