Lithuania may halve self-quarantine for travelers

Lithuania will decide next week whether to cut self-quarantine time for travelers coming from coronavirus-affected countries, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga says.

Self-isolating for one week rather than two weeks would require taking the coronavirus test, according to the proposal.

“These decisions are now being coordinated and drafted. […] It is very likely that we will have these decisions next week,” the minister told reporters on Thursday.

Some tests, which use the molecular diagnostic method, could be covered by the government. “People would not be required to pay for such a test, if they wanted to have it done and exit self-isolation sooner,” Veryga said.

However, it would not make sense to test people upon arrival at the country’s airports, according to the minister, since the coronavirus can be most reliably diagnosed seven to nine days after contraction.

Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports), the operator of the country’s three international airports, has approached the Health Ministry about performing Covid-19 testing at airports.

“We are currently looking into such possibilities,” the company’s spokesman Tadas Vasiliauskas told BNS. “We are not the ones who make decisions, but we see experience of other countries. Estonia is the closest example, but also a number of foreign airports provide such services.”

New rules came into affect in Estonia on September 1, allowing people entering the country to have a shorter period of self-isolation. People are tested for Covid-19 airports and if the result is negative, their self-quarantine period is reduced. They are retested a week later and may come out of isolation if the result is negative.

There’s currently no possibility in Lithuania to cut the self-isolation period.

The latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show Lithuania’s infection rate currently stands at 15.5, compared to 14.2 in Estonia.


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