Lithuania to ban city festivals, mass-test hospital patients

Responding to a recent spike in coronavirus infections, the Lithuanian government said it would ban mass gatherings, such as city or harvest festivals.

“As of October 1, we intend not to allow mass gatherings of people, such as town or harvest festivals where it is especially difficult to ensure and monitor compliance with safety requirements,” Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis posted on Facebook after a meeting of the government’s Covid-19 crisis response committee.

The committee also decided to step up safety measures at hospitals and test medical workers “as much as needed”, he said.

 Mandatory testing of patients 

The Lithuanian government is also planning to reintroduce mandatory coronavirus testing for patients on admission to hospital and tighten the rules for hospital visitors, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said on Monday.

“The testing strategy will be revised to reintroduce mandatory testing for people admitted for in-patient treatment, intensify the testing of medical personnel, and tighten the rules for visitors,” he told a news conference.

The government’s Covid-19 crisis management committee made the decisions on Monday in response to a coronavirus outbreak in a hospital in the northern town of Radviliškis, currently the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the country.

Sixty-three coronavirus cases are now linked to the hospital, including 35 patients, 26 staff members, and two secondary infections.

Lithuania reported 179 new coronavirus cases over the weekend, including 99 on Saturday, the biggest daily rise since the start of the pandemic.

Lithuania has so far confirmed a total of 3,814 coronavirus infections, including 1,511 active cases and 2,199 recoveries.

Eighty-seven people have died of Covid-19 in the country, and another 17 coronavirus-infected patients have died of other causes.


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