Albania’s coronavirus cases surge for third day in row

Despite a lockdown monitored by police and the army and hefty fines, some Albanians have slipped through to buy food. (File/AFP)
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Updated 05 April 2020

Albania’s coronavirus cases surge for third day in row

  • The country reported a total of 361 cases, 20 deaths and 104 recoveries
  • Albania was hit by an earthquake last November that killed 51 people and left 17,000 homeless

TIRANA: Albania reported 28 new cases of the new coronavirus on Sunday and said a failure to respect social distancing had led to the highest numbers of infections over the last three days.
The COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus has killed 20, infected 361 and caused three to need help breathing, the Public Health Institute said. It added that 104 had recovered.
Despite a lockdown monitored by police and the army and hefty fines, some Albanians have slipped through to buy food. Two were caught having coffee and brandy outside. Mourners who attended a funeral in a northern town also spread the contagion.
Since the first two cases on March 9, infections rose and fell until they reached 28, the most in a day, on March 26. They fell up to half over the next week, only to rise to 27 on Friday, 29 on Saturday, the highest ever, and 28 on Sunday.
One of the poorest countries in Europe, Albania was already hit hard by an earthquake last November that killed 51 people and left 17,000 homeless. The government is enforcing a tough lockdown to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.
Before enforcing its third 40-hour lockdown on the weekend, the government reminded Albanians they should not be fooled by comparing their country’s figures with those of worst-hit countries because the worst had yet to pass.
“This increase in the number of cases in Shkoder and Tirana once again shows the failure to apply social distancing and measures to control the infection that the Health Ministry keeps recommending daily,” said Albana Fico of the Health Institute.
“It is equally important to respect infection prevention measures even with our cousins by avoiding visits for whatever reason,” she added.


German Rambo: Police in forest hunt for armed homeless man

Updated 54 min 22 sec ago

German Rambo: Police in forest hunt for armed homeless man

  • Holice hunting for a homeless man in combat gear and armed with a bow and arrow and other weapons

BERLIN: In scenes reminiscent of the film “Rambo,” police in Germany’s Black Forest are hunting for a homeless man in combat gear and armed with a bow and arrow and other weapons.
Several dozen officers and helicopters were deployed as the search entered its second day on Monday.
Police in Oppenau, in southwestern Germany, warned local residents to stay at home and not pick up any hitchhikers.
They released a photo of the suspect who has a bow and arrow, a knife and at least one gun and is known to the police for previous offenses, including illegal possession of firearms.
Police said they were informed on Sunday morning that a suspicious man was hanging around a hut in the forest.
When officers approached him they found that he was armed with a bow and arrow, a knife and a pistol.
He then “suddenly and completely unexpectedly” threatened them with the firearm, leaving them “no time to react to the dangerous situation,” police said late Sunday.
He asked the police to put down their weapons and ran away, “presumably” taking their arms with him.
About 100 police officers, including special forces and canine teams, have been dispatched to search for the man.