Albanian schools, cafes, restaurants and other public venues will remain shut and restrictions on social and economic activity will stay in place till the end of the coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said on Wednesday.
Albania, one of the poorest countries in Europe, flew a team of doctors and nurses to neighboring Italy on Saturday to help it deal with the coronavirus pandemic as its own cases have yet to strain the health sector.
Albania will impose a 40 hour curfew at the weekend and limit shopping to just one family member, who will need to seek permission from an app to leave home from Monday, as the country toughens measures to contain a coronavirus outbreak.
Albania declared the coronavirus a "natural calamity" on Wednesday, giving the authorities 30-day emergency powers to search houses, stop free movement and ban strikes in an effort to break the chain of an outbreak that has killed five so far.
The European Union can start membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, according to a draft decision by the bloc's 27 member states seen by Reuters on Monday and due to be finalised this week.
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