Lithuania won battle against the virus, but war is not over – PM

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has warned that although the quarantine has been lifted, the war against the virus is not over.

“Although we won the battle, we have not won the war against the pandemic yet,” he said on Tuesday night. “Millions of people around the world are still ill with this virus disease. Hundreds of thousands are still dying. We still don’t have vaccines and effective treatments.”

Skvernelis thanked people for their understanding, responsibility, patience and public spirit that, according to him, helped save hundreds of lives.

“It’s a victory for Lithuania. It’s a victory for humanity,” Skvernelis said.

Emergency situation to continue

As Lithuania lifts quarantine, an emergency situation – a legal regime introduced back in February – will remain in the country.

“Quarantine is more of a word that irritates everyone, everyone is bored of it, compared to some other special measure,” Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga told BNS.

“We have already eased a lot [restrictions]. It’s more of a symbolic thing when you wake up in the morning and it’s hard to see anything magically different,” he said.

Lithuania introduced quarantine on March 16 and lifted it on June 17. Wearing facemasks will no longer be mandatory, but safety recommendations remain in place.

“We hope that people will follow the recommendations and act responsibly,” said Veryga.

While there are no longer any restrictions on nighttime working hours of bars and restaurants, the physical distance requirement remains in place. Cafes and restaurants will need to keep tables two metres apart.

The minister also said it would not be mandatory to self-isolate even after coming into contact with an infected person. “It will be only a recommendation, save for exceptional cases,” said the health minister.

“But if a person receives a recommendation [to self-isolate] and fails to do so [,,,] and infects someone, they will face liability,” Veryga said.

As of Wednesday, up to 700 people can attend open-air events, and up to 150 can take part in indoor events. The number will increase to 1,000 and 200, respectively, as of July 1.

Healthcare institutions are still required to regulate patient flows and, if possible, provide as many services remotely as possible.

Temporary border controls at international airports, the port of Klaipėda and on the border with Russia and Belarus will be extended until July 16.

The Lithuanian Health Ministry published on Tuesday a list of 45 countries most affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Foreigners can travel to Lithuania from these countries only in exceptional cases. They must register with the National Public Health Centre (NPHC) within 48 hours after their arrival and are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The coronavirus ‘black list’ includes many non-EU or EEA countries, such as Belarus, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, Singapore. Meanwhile, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Portugal are also on the list.


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