TIRANA – The change of the lockdown timeframe has two main measures regarding the possibility of a segment of people to go out of home for a longer period of time and the other was an extension of the curfew at the weekend.
Starting from Monday grocery shops, pharmacies and banks will be open from 5 am to 5.30 pm during the weekdays and citizens will be able to get a permit to do shopping for 90 minutes, which is an extra 30 minutes as compared with before.
But this relaxation is accompanies with a ‘bad news’ because a new measure of government stipulates that there will be a total lockdown starting from this Friday 5.30 pm to Monday 5 am. Earlier the lockdown started from Saturday 1 pm to Monday 5 am. “Groceries, drug stores and everything else will be closed, except emergencies, police, media and delivery,” it was said in the announcement, which ruled that no one is allowed to leave home for any reason during the curfew.
Such a prolongation of the curfew coincides with the Orthodox celebrations of the Easter this weekend. All celebrations of Catholic believers including the main events were held without the presence of any believers being followed virtually.
Harsh penalties and sentences proposed by the government will pass in parliament this week. According to the proposed changes, violators of quarantine will face up to 15 years in prison.
There are no precise details on the exit strategy of Albania but Premier Edi Rama said last week that the first phase of the lockdown is expected to finish by the end of May, when many activities could cautiously turn to “the new normal state” and many people could go back to work. But it is obvious the ruling that elderly people will have to stay confined for some more time as the most vulnerable segment of the population towards the disease. Health authorities have said the average age of most of the fatalities is over 50 years old.
“Although the number of those infected is lower than the government’s most optimistic expectations, due to strong restrictive measures we took at the right time and the amazing resilience of the people in unity with the government, still the coming 40 days of resilience are decisive, while restrictions will be eased gradually,” said Rama.
In the meantime it is being expected, as PM announced last week, the unveiling of a plan for a very gradual opening of the “repatriation road” of Albanians stranded abroad with the relevant mandatory 14-day quarantine conditions under strict security rules. /argumentum.al