The Albanian government has decided to make mask-wearing mandatory in all outdoor spaces in an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on Saturday.
Rama made the announcement during a joint press conference with Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu.
Under the new measure, all citizens are required to wear a face mask at all times in all outdoor and public indoor spaces, and anyone found not to comply could face a fine.
Rama urged all citizens to follow the new measure in order to prevent a second lockdown, which he said many countries are already facing.
“A second lockdown would be devastating for Albanian families and the economy of the country,” Rama stated.
Manastirliu said currently there are 550 beds in hospitals designated for COVID-19 patients.
According to her, health authorities have been working to include regional hospitals in the treatment of patients diagnosed with COVID-19, to increase the capacity to a total of 1,600 beds.
In mid-July, Albania made mask-wearing mandatory for people indoors. The new measure will enter into force starting from Oct. 15.
On Saturday, health authorities reported 165 coronavirus cases and three related deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 15,231, with 9,406 recoveries and 416 fatalities.
As the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across the globe — including China, Russia, Britain and the U.S. — are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the World Health Organization (WHO), as of Oct. 2, there were 193 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 42 of them were in clinical trials.