Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania

Location: Albania

Event:

On March 19, 2020 the Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory for COVID-19.  In this alert, the Department of State advised all U.S. citizens to avoid international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. Furthermore, it instructed all U.S. citizens in countries where commercial travel options still exist to arrange travel home immediately or to prepare to remain abroad for an indefinite period of time.

U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to make travel arrangements as soon as possible while flights are still available.  Some airlines continue to operate but do so on a greatly reduced schedule.  Other airlines have announced flights will be discontinued altogether after a certain date.  Transportation links to international destinations, including the United States, are becoming increasingly limited.  Travelers should prepare for the possibility that air carriers may further reduce or eliminate currently available commercial flight options with little advance notice.

Currently, there are limited commercial carriers operating flights from Albania with flights to Brussels, Dortmond, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Istanbul, and Memmingen. The European Union (EU) recently imposed travel restrictions for third-country nationals (including U.S. citizens), but exceptions exist for citizens seeking to travel through the EU for transit purposes. Please contact airlines or travel agents directly to make travel arrangements for return travel to the United States.  The Embassy is unable to make personal travel arrangements for private U.S. citizens at this time.

On March 9, 2020 the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection announced the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Albania.  To contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the Government of Albania has:

  • Closed all schools until April 3, 2020
    • Suspended all flights and ferries between Albania and Italy until April 3, 2020.
  • Imposed vehicle restrictions:
    • Only official government vehicles or private vehicles with a government-issued permit are permitted to circulate from 0600 and 0800 and then from 1600 and 1800.  Those who violate this prohibition face the loss of their driver’s license and a fine of up to 5,0000 Euros.
    • Emergency vehicles, certain government vehicles, vehicles transporting foods and medicines, and diplomatic vehicles on official business 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.
  • Imposed pedestrian restrictions:
    • Pedestrians are permitted outside only between the hours of 0600 until 1000 and then from 1600 until 1800.  Individuals caught walking outside of these hours are subject to a fine.
    • Pedestrians must walk individually. Pedestrians caught walking in groups will be subject to fines.
  • 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.
  • Closed borders with neighboring countries:
    • All land borders remain closed to non-commercial movement (Greece, N. Macedonia, and Montenegro), with the following caveat for Kosovo:
      • The border with Kosovo is open to citizens of Albania or Kosovo who are returning to their home country, government vehicles, ambulances and commercial goods.
  • 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 and the Institute of Public Health for additional information on these new measures.
  • Required that all individuals who have traveled to a WHO-designated high-risk area for COVID-19 within the last 14 days must self-quarantine or else face administrative fines; further those who are concerned they may have contracted COVID-19 through exposure to other vectors are also asked 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.
Actions to Take:
Assistance:
U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania
+(355) (0)4224-7285
+(355) (0)4224-7285 (after hours)
ACSTirana@state.gov
https://al.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/ 
State Department - Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
Albania Country Information
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