Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda to be put under quarantine

With the number of new coronavirus infections spiking, the government has decided to put Lithuania’s three biggest cities and five other municipalities under quarantine. The special measures include compulsory facemasks and bans on groups bigger than five people.

The cities of Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipėda as well as Širvintos, Šilalė, Trakai, Telšiai and Vilnius Districts will stay in local quarantine from Wednesday, October 28, until November 11.

These eight municipalities were added to the ‘red-zone’ of high-risk localities last Friday. Thirteen other ‘red’ municipalities have been put under local quarantine earlier.

“We propose that […] mask-wearing be mandatory for all persons over the age of six in all public places,” Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said during the cabinet meeting on Monday. The government backed the proposal soon afterwards.

Masks will not be mandatory outside residential zones, when there are no people within a 20-metre radius.

The following restrictions will apply in quarantined municipalities:

– Facemasks are mandatory in all public places – One-metre space must be observed in inter-city public transport – Groups of more than five people are not allowed, except members of the same household – Two-metre distances must be maintained between groups in events and public places – Public-sector institutions are switching fully or partially to remote work – Retail businesses must manage client flows, ensuring a space of at least 10 square metres per customer – Hospital visits are suspended, except in cases where patients are terminally ill, under 14 years old, or women in maternity wards – Religious communities are advised to suspend services or avoid crowding

Health Minister Veryga also said he would propose to the government on Wednesday to ban events and gatherings. If the cabinet approves the measure, fans will not be allowed to attend professional sports matches. Such a ban would come into force on Friday.

“All events and gatherings held in indoor and outdoor spaces would be banned, except for top-level sporting matches that would be held without fans,” Veryga told reporters.

The ban, however, would not apply to cultural events with tickets sold online, proper access control and where distances of at least 2 meters between audience members can be maintained.

According to criteria approved by the government last week, municipalities fall into the red category if the number of new coronavirus cases confirmed over the last two weeks exceeds 50 per 100,000 people and the share of positive Covid-19 tests is over 4 percent.

To stay in the green category, municipalities need to keep their case count under 25 per 100,000 people and positive coronavirus tests under 4 percent.

The yellow category applies to those municipalities that have under 50 cases per 100,000 people, but more than 4 percent of positive tests, or between 25 and 150 cases if the share of positive tests is under 4 percent.


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