Albania to fine those not wearing masks in public

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-15 00:25:51|Editor: huaxia

TIRANA, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- As of Thursday, Albanian citizens aged 11 and above will be fined 3,000 Albanian lek (28.5 U.S. dollars) for not wearing face masks in public, Albana Fico, director of the country's Public Health Institute, told a press conference here on Wednesday. The fine for repeat offenders will be 5,000 Albanian lek.

Fico presented the "Guidelines on the mandatory use of masks outdoors," which spell out the rules and exceptions on the use of face masks or protective device outdoors in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"Citizens over 11 years old must wear a mask throughout the day, in every store or shopping mall, on every means of public transport or when walking on the street," Fico said.

Fico said that the guidelines also specify exceptions to the mandatory use of masks -- when family doctors recommend otherwise due to various diseases; during sport activities; when riding a bike or motorbike alone; when driving alone or in the presence of close relatives; and when at home with family members.

According to local health experts, the government's decision was taken based on the increase in new coronavirus cases and on the need to avoid a health emergency due to the approaching influenza season.

On Wednesday, the Albanian health authorities reported over 200 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the largest daily increase since the start of the pandemic.

According to the authorities, from the 1,351 tests conducted over the last 24 hours 203 returned positive results, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country to 15,955, with 9,762 recoveries and 434 fatalities.

In July 2020, the Albanian government had decided to make the use of masks mandatory in indoor spaces and would impose a fine of 2,000 Albanian lek to those who fail to respect the decision.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), face masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress COVID-19 transmission and save lives.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreaks in early 2020, wearing masks in public has been widely accepted in Asian countries like China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam to limit the spread of COVID-19. (1 U.S. dollar = 105.5 Albanian lek) Enditem

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