Lithuania to call nationwide quarantine: shutting non-essential shops and closing border to foreigners

The Lithuanian government has announced a two-week nationwide quarantine to stop the spread of the  coronavirus  . The measures include closing borders to foreign nationals and shops except pharmacies and groceries.

After five new Covid-19 cases have been confirmed over the last 24 hours, the Lithuanian government convened for an extraordinary meeting on Saturday to decide on the coronavirus action plan.

 Read more:  New coronavirus case confirmed in Klaipėda, another one in Vilnius   

Lithuania reintroduced control of its borders with Poland and Latvia on Saturday. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said that foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter the country by any means of transport, unless they work and permanently live in Lithuania. Exceptions will apply to diplomatic staff and NATO personnel.

Lithuanian citizens currently abroad have been advised to return immediately.

As Poland has closed its borders, Skvernelis said Lithuania was close to agreeing on a 72-hour “humanitarian corridor” to allow transit to Lithuanians.

Restrictions will also apply to Lithuanian nationals going abroad. Movement of cargo, however, will be allowed.

Quarantine measures also include banning all public events, closing bars, restaurants and shops, excluding groceries and pharmacies. Client-servicing businesses, like hairdressers and beauty salons, will also need to close.

Business companies are encouraged to allow their employees to work from home where possible.

Skvernelis said that the government would offer a stimulus package “of at least one billion euros” to reassure businesses affected by the anti-epidemic measures.

Last Thursday, the government has already ordered schools, kindergartens and universities to close for two weeks and banned all indoor events and outdoor events of more than 100 people.

Theatres, museums, cinemas, gyms and similar establishments have also been ordered to close.

So far, Lithuania has confirmed eight coronavirus cases, all contracted abroad.

The government plans to approve the quarantine measures in another meeting on Saturday night. It would come into effect on Monday and last two weeks.


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