From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Coronavirus: Rama Says Pubs, Gyms, Clubs To Close, Minister Calls on Citizens to Stay at Home

Prime Minister Edi Rama has announced that venues where people congregate such as pubs, gyms and nightclubs, will soon be closed.

Rama said that restaurants and cafes will remain open for now but that proprietors should put a certain distance of two metres and one metre between tables respectively.

This comes a day after the government banned sports events, conferences, public and non-public gatherings, and concerts. They also closed all schools and kindergartens and closed the border with Italy.

He spoke of the ten confirmed cases, noting that eight of them are related to two individual cases.

Those that do not follow the rules will be subject to sanctions which could include imprisonment.

Rama pledged a bonus of EUR 1000 for medical staff such as doctors and nurses and EUR 500 for drivers and sanitizers.

As well as school closures, some state administration departments would be working from home. All service at state counters has been suspended in order to eliminate contact with people. This includes the Municipality offices where documents for presentation must be sent by post.

The import and export of goods will continue as normal but all flights to and from Italy will remain closed.

Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said that a further 18 tests for the virus are being carried out and they are awaiting the results. She reiterated that anyone who suspects they may have the virus should not go out and should call 127 immediately.

The Deputy Minister of Health Mira Rakacolli told the media that people should continue to apply measures recommended by experts. These include avoiding large crowds, cafes, restaurants, public transport, and leaving the home unnecessarily. She called on citizens to cooperate.

The Institute of Public Health is working 24 hours a day to carry out tests on samples in order to avoid delays and be able to confirm cases as soon as possible. Director of the IPH Albina Fico said that the spread of the virus can be stopped if instructions from authorities are adhered to.

“I appeal to apply the rules of personal hygiene, for washing hands over 20 seconds, use of disinfectants, respect for respiratory hygiene…Implement Ministry orders and IPH recommendations. Spare yourself the spread of Coronavirus when it is unnecessary and when it can be stopped. Fear is human, panic is uncontrolled fear,” she said.