37.8% of Albanians report having contracted COVID-19, according to a survey by Euronews Albania.
These findings stand in stark contrast to official numbers. The Ministry of Health’s latest announcement reports that some 177,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic started.
However, Euronews’s survey reveals that the number is closer to 830,000.
In Tirana alone, 42.8% of residents report having tested positive for COVID-19, with central Albania registering the highest infection rates in the country.
60% of citizens said they experienced mild symptoms, and 17% reported more severe cases.
According to the State Supreme Audit (KLSH), as the pandemic unfolded, testing and tracing were mismanaged across the country, leading to delays in recording positive cases on time.
Furthermore, medical expert Genc Sulçebe told Euronews that deaths by COVID-19 were also higher than the reported 2,855, as the criteria used to measure this number is too limited.
In fact, the National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) found there were 6,000 excess deaths during 2020 in Albania. 4,700 of those deaths remain unexplained.
An IMF report from October 21 shows that Albania’s excess mortality rate for 2020 was the highest in Europe.
According to Euronews’s survey, roughly 7.9% of Albanians report having lost a close family member to COVID-19.