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2020.03.30 11:22

Why is there only one coronavirus recovery in Lithuania?

Monika Petrulienė, Kristina Karlonė, LRT TV, LRT.lt2020.03.30 11:22

Since Lithuania confirmed the first coronavirus case on February 28, the country's infections count has risen to nearly 500 and seven people have died. Curiously, the Lithuania's official statistics show only one recovery.

While globally about 20 percent of the infected have recovered from Covid-19, Lithuania has not been testing its patients to check if they still have the disease. The sole recovery is the woman from Šiauliai who was the country's first confirmed coronavirus case.

Read more: Over 40 medical workers infected in Lithuania

About 45 percent of coronavirus patients in Lithuania exhibit very mild symptoms and have been released for treatment at home under strict self-isolation conditions.

One of them is Mantas Kazlauskas, an event organiser. He says he wants to know if he still has the virus and poses a danger to other people. However, getting tested again has proven near-impossible.

“When I call [the coronavirus hotline] 1808, they apologise, they're all very nice there, but say I must go to my family doctor to get a referral. But my family doctor says [she can't and] that she'll know how things should work perhaps only next week,” Kazlauskas told LRT TV on Sunday.

Lithuania's Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga says that there are no plans to repeatedly test confirmed cases, since the testing capacity is directed toward identifying new infections.

“It is a luxury we had when there was one [infected] person,” he said. “Now that we have many cases, the priority is testing new cases. Our team is working out an algorithm how to decide that someone has recovered.”

According to the minister, the authorities are still discussing what to do with coronavirus patients in recovery. One of the options is to carry out tests from their blood samples.

Lithuania received a shipments of some 300,000 testing kits from China and South Korea last week.

Of the nearly 10,000 coronavirus tests carried out in Lithuania so far, two-thirds have been done since last Wednesday.