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2020.03.25 18:31

Prime Minister slams returning Lithuanians – ‘these individuals cause us danger’

LRT.lt2020.03.25 18:31

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has slammed Lithuanians returning from abroad who do not adhere to the quarantine.

“You have probably seen scenes on social media, who and what types are returning to Lithuania,” the minister told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m sorry, but they cannot be called people.”

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Videos circulating among Lithuanian social media users showed some of the returnees mocking the imposed quarantine and saying they will not follow the self-isolation rules. These several posts went viral across Lithuania and were picked up by the local media.

“These are the individuals that, after getting off planes and ferries, are posing danger to us.”

On Tuesday, the government introduced a mandatory 14-day quarantine in municipality-provided facilities for everyone returning to Lithuania from abroad. The measures have attracted criticism, particularly from the returnees.

“We cannot allow that this segment of the society dictate us conditions, pose danger to our health and life,” he said, adding that “we [also] need to be selective and look at people humanely”.

Skvernelis said that the majority of Covid-19 cases in Lithuania were brought from abroad, therefore isolating returnees was necessary.

Read more: Lithuania's new quarantine rules lead to ‘chaos’ and fights

“This isn’t a standard situation [...] and we [cannot] tolerate people who come back, and are possibly infected, and let them move freely across the country posing danger to our health and life,” said the minister.

However, the mandatory quarantine order will be adjusted, he said. If people have a declared place of residency in Lithuania which meets self-isolation requirements, they will be allowed to quarantine themselves at home.

Skvernelis said that rules on returning to Lithuania might also be adjusted. “It seems we will be forced to adjust the rules on coming back to Lithuania,” he said. “If people do not accept these conditions [...] then maybe we won’t be able to accept them in planes and ferries, and they will have to remain where they are.”