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".
Albanian mobile phone users have unexpectedly received a recorded message from the Prime Minister, advising them on how to protect themselves from the coronavirus - and the media.
"Wash your hands, don't move from your house for pleasure, open windows as much as you can, protect yourself from the media," the message from Edi Rama said.
Albania reported its first death from coronavirus on Wednesday, an elderly patient who was being treated for pneumonia for the last five days after returning home from Italy.
"The 73-old-patient, a confirmed case of COVID-19, passed away a few minutes ago as result of complications from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases," the Health Ministry said in a statement.
A passenger being checked at Tirana airport amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus, on February 24 2020. Photo: LSA
Prosecutors said they suspected fearful messages were being spread mainly through WhattsApp.
The prosecutor's announcement on Monday followed an eruption of coronavirus cases in nearby Italy, a country with which Albania has multiple links.