Albania to open borders in May, prepare to welcome back tourists

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the National Theatre in Tirana, Albania July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga/File Photo

TIRANA (Reuters) - Albania will re-open its borders this month and prepare to welcome back tourists, Prime Minister Edi Rama told parliament on Thursday, with the country reporting no new coronavirus deaths for more than three weeks.

“I am telling you that in May, Albania will be fully opened, the borders will be opened. We are going to prepare for the tourism season,” Rama said.

Tourism, a growing industry employing directly 90,000 people and 200,000 down the chain, is one of the hardest-hit sectors.

“If a second wave comes, it will be much more grievous than the one we overcame. We’ll to cope with it with the same seriousness,” Rama added.

There is an overnight curfew in Albania, but some restrictions

have been eased. Mass gatherings and public transport are still banned and people cannot leave four red areas, including the capital Tirana.

With just five new reported infections in the last 24 hours, there are now 167 people sick with COVID-19, which has killed 31 Albanians and infected a total of 969.

Of 14 people in hospital, three are in intensive care.

Reporting by Benet Koleka; editing by Nick Macfie