A new case of Covid-19 infection was confirmed in Lithuania on Monday night, bringing the country’s total to 18. It’s the first case where the patient belongs to a risk group and his condition is complicated, according to the health minister
The latest case is a man who has returned from South Africa. The patient is being treated at Panevėžys Hospital.
Read more: Coronavirus in Lithuania: information for foreign citizens
The latest patient belongs to a risk group, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga told LRT RADIO on Tuesday morning.
“He was tested [for the coronavirus] when he was already in treatment and his condition was complicated. It’s the first risk-group patient in Lithuania and such a complicated case,” Veryga said.
The patient is over 60 and needed intubation, according to the minister.
All of the patients diagnosed with the coronavirus so far are thought to have contracted the virus abroad.
The first patient, who was diangosed on February 28, has recovered and has been released home.
As of Monday, anyone who develops at least one symptom of acute respiratory infection, such as a sudden onset of fever, cough and shortness of breath, within 14 days after returning from any foreign country is considered potentially infected, the Health Ministry said.
Anyone arriving in Lithuania from another country must self-isolate for 14 days.
Stranded Lithuanian nationals can still return, interior minister says Lithuanian nationals trapped in foreign countries by border closures can still return home, Interior Minister Rita Tamašunienė said on Tuesday.
“There are still possibilities, and we are certainly waiting for all citizens and are ready to meet them,” she said on LRT RADIO.
The minister urged all stranded Lithuanian nationals to register with the Foreign Ministry, warning those who are attempting to return on their own that the flight situation is changing “every day”.
Around 2,000 Lithuanian citizens have informed the country’s diplomatic missions that they are unable to return home due to movement restrictions.
Poland closed its borders to foreign nationals on Sunday, leaving a number of Lithuanians stranded in Germany.
Warsaw agreed late on Monday to allow six convoys of buses and minibuses to enter Poland from Germany and transit through its territory with two or three stopovers.
Lithuania has arranged a special train to evacuate people traveling in passenger cars. Their drivers will have to return home by ferry.
According to the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, all people will be subjected to health checks on the border and only those with no clear symptoms will be allowed through.
Those with symptoms will have to stay and wait for Lithuania’s authorities to arrange for their return, Tamašunienė said.
Lithuania asks for additional checkpoint on Polish border
Vilnius is asking Warsaw to open at least one more checkpoint on the Lithuanian-Polish border where a massive tailback of vehicles has formed, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday morning.
According to the prime minister, the talks, in their fourth day, are “quite difficult”, but the situation can still be resolved.
“The Polish side [is asked] to increase the number of crossings, possibly, at Kalvarija-Budzisko. Another possible option is to open the Lazdijai-Ogrodniki checkpoint,” Skvernelis told reporters. “They should at least let through their own commercial cargo vehicles. More than half of the vehicles queuing up at the border are with Polish license numbers.”
“If the passage capacity on the Polish side remains as it is now, there will be a tragedy,” he warns.
According to Skvernelis, at Kalvarija-Budzisko, currently the only border crossing open to traffic, Polish authorities perform thorough health checks on each truck driver before allowing them cross the border.
“Talks have been continuing for four days now. We are negotiating with the Poles on all fronts and on all issues,” he said.
Skvernelis confirmed that Poland allowed two convoys of buses and minibuses to transit its territory on Monday night.
Military plane airlifts 31 Lithuanians across Poland
On Monday night, the Lithuanian Air Force’s C-27J Spartan transport plane late flew home 31 Lithuanians stranded in Germany after Poland closed its borders.
The Lithuanian nationals were subjected to checks on arrival, the Defence Ministry said.
The Spartan also brought donor stem cells to Lithuania for transplantation. The military aircraft will be disinfected before it is used for other purposes. Its crew wore protective suits during the flight, according to the ministry.
Poland denies entry to passenger cars with Lithuanian license plates, but allows buses and minibuses to transit through its territory in organised convoys.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has said that drivers of cars will have to return to Lithuania from Germany by ferry and other travellers will be tranported home by train.
Lithuanian dairies ready to meet local demand The two major Lithuanian dairy groups – Žemaitijos Pienas and Pieno Žvaigždės – said on Monday they’re ready to meet increased local demand, while production continues as usual despite the nationwide quarantine.
Žemaitijos Pienas said it continues to purchase raw milk from farmers as usual.
“Sales in Lithuania are currently increasing, […] but the closure of schools, kindergartens and catering establishments makes us to adjust our production range and volumes,” Žemaitijos Pienas said in a statement to the Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange on Monday.
“Sales in export markets are based on the existing contracts,” it added.
Pieno Žvaigždės said production process continues as usual. “Raw milk supply process continues as well; all orders to our customers are fully executed,” it said in a statement to the stock exchange.
“The company is capable of satisfying the local market’s increased demand for fresh dairy products,” it added.
Both companies said it was too early to say what impact the coronavirus crisis might have on their financial results.
Žemaitijos Pienas is quoted on the stock exchange’s Secondary List, and Pieno Žvaigždės is listed on the blue-chip Main List.
Lithuania opening another checkpoint to ease queues at border with Belarus Lithuania is opening an additional border checkpoint in a bid to ease long queues of vehicles at the border with Belarus, according to Rustamas Liubajevas, the commander of the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service (VSAT).
The number of border checkpoints was reduced after a nationwide quarantine took effect in Lithuania on Monday.
“Following consultations with the Belarusian side and the [Lithuanian] Customs Service, we are opening [Šalčininkai] border checkpoint at 09:00 [local time],” Liubajevas told LRT RADIO on Tuesday morning.
“We hope we will manage to resolve the situation,” he added.
Liubajevas said 340 vehicles were waiting to cross into Lithuania from Belarus at the Raigardas and another 810 were queuing up at Medininkai border posts.
Twenty-five vehicles were waiting to cross into Belarus from Lithuania at the Kybartai checkpoint.