Latest News from Albania

Turkey congratulates N Macedonia, Albania for EU talks

Turkey on March 27 congratulated North Macedonia and Albania for opening accession talks with the European Union.

"We congratulate our friends and Allies North Macedonia and Albania on the start of their EU accession negotiations and the EU," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Montenegro Places First Town under Total Quarantine

Empty streets in Tuzi. Photo: BIRN/Samir Kajosevic

Government vice-president Milutin Simovic told locals on Tuesday night that they would have to remain at home until further notice. "Without exception, all citizens of Tuzi must be at their homes. We are beginning a battle for this town and for all of Montenegro," Simovic told a press conference.

EU greenlights membership talks for Albania and North Macedonia

European affairs ministers agreed Tuesday to allow Albania and North Macedonia to begin European Union membership talks, paving the way for the bloc's leaders to sign off on the move that could end years of setbacks and disappointment for the two Balkan nations.

Albania to Free 600 Prisoners as Pandemic Precaution

Justice Minister Etilda Gjonaj said on Tuesday that about 600 prisoners are expected to be released from prison and sent home on a special permit for about three months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Those who are serving time in prisons have our special attention to protect the health of everybody despite their status," Gjonaj said in a Facebook video.

Korean Sect Leader Facing Coronavirus Backlash Had Balkan Operations

The 88-year-old leader of the church, Lee Man-hee, who claims he is the second coming of Jesus Christ, is also chairman of an organisation called Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light, HWPL, and which has been active in North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. 

Albania, North Macedonia Expect Good News on EU Talks

EU ambassadors are to make a decision on Thursday on a draft document agreeing the start of accession talks for Albania and North Macedonia.

If they approve the draft, the decision is expected to be confirmed later this month by EU foreign ministers and prime ministers, who are set to convene, probably via video conferences, on March 24 and 26 respectively.

Serbia Closed its Borders and Introduced a State of Emergency because of COVID-19

Serbia closed its borders last night and declared a state of emergency. This is also the case in Romania today.

Greece has banned cruise ships from entering ports and terminated its transport links with Spain, Italy, Albania and Northern Macedonia, which in turn mobilized all available medical personnel.

Albania Adopts Punitive Fines for Breaching Coronavirus Restrictions

A patient being sent to the Shefqet Ndroqi Hospital for Lung Diseases in Tirana on Sunday. Photo: Malton Dibra/LSA

Prime Minister Edi Rama said that anyone who complains about the heavy fines should understand that the penalties are "not [meant] to collect money for the state, but to protect the people from violations that threaten their health in this war situation".

Further restrictions to travel; cruise ships banned

Greece has decided to close its borders with Albania and North Macedonia, with some exceptions, stop flights to and from Spain and end passenger ship service to Italy.

Also, cruise ships will no longer be allowed at Greek ports.

Greek citizens, as well as permanent residence of Greece, will still be allowed to cross from Albania and North Macedonia.

New Travel Restrictions due to COVID-19

Latest updates on travel restrictions as of March 15, 2020 (according to Bulgaria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Albania

Bulgaria with 43 Registered Cases of COVID-19, Balkans Taking Tougher Measures

Two more cases of coronavirus have been registered in Bulgaria.

One is from Pleven, the other from Sofia. The total number of patients is 43, two of them have died.

This was stated by Major General Prof. Ventsislav Mutafchiiski, Chief of the National Operations Headquarters and of the MMA.

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