COVID-19, summer expected calm but experts appeal for caution before autumn

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The situation with the pandemic is getting better in Albania. As consequence, the number of new infections and fatalities has been lower.

The two COVID hospitals in Tirana are treating 45 patients, the lowest number for the past three months. The regional COVID hospitals have been closed.

The long queues of ambulances in Tirana forced the authorities to open the hospitals of Durres, Elbasan and Shkodra on February 15th, 2021, a decision that freed the hospital in Tirana from the huge influx.

In the recent days there was a discussion to also close the COVID pavilion for one of the two hospitals in Tirana that are offering this service, but the decision was reversed in case of a sudden surge.

The Technical Committee of experts decided to reduce the restrictive measures by reopening theaters at 30% of their capacity, not making masks obligatory in public. However, they were more reserved with nightclubs, which will remain closed at night. The new measures were taken after Albania marked two consequent days without any single death.

However, authorities appeal for caution and vigilance, as the virus wave can come back in dangerous numbers. Epidemiologist Alimehmeti suggests that the curfew should be removed to allow citizens free movement, although for commercial premises the restriction should remain in force.  

Experts think that the merit for the improved situation goes to the vaccination process, which has now been extended to many categories. After vaccinating elder citizens, doctors, teachers, tourism and manufacturing workers, public transportation workers are next as taxi drivers appeal that by working at full capacity is their only salvation from a second economic crisis.

Albania is getting ready to welcome tourists at the start of this tourist season. So far, 6000 employees have been vaccinated. Experts predict a calm summer, but caution should be high as we get closer to autumn.