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2020.04.06 16:43

Coronavirus quarantine will be extended beyond Easter – Lithuanian president

LRT.lt, BNS2020.04.06 16:43

Quarantine measures in Lithuania will be extended beyond April 13, President Gitanas Nausėda said after his meeting with the prime minister on Monday.

The government is expected to make the formal announcement after a sitting on Wednesday.

Read more: Lithuania to restrict entry to all cities, towns over Easter weekend

“I do not want to jump ahead of time, but it [the quarantine] will be extended, certainly beyond Easter,” Nausėda said. “I believe it is a right decision.”

The Lithuanian government introduced a nationwide quarantine on March 16 to moderate the spread of Covid-19. It was originally to last two weeks, but was later extended until April 13.

Some restrictions could be eased in some areas, however, the president added.

“It is important not to make a fatal mistake by relaxing the economy before the situation permits it,” Nausėda said. “Even if we decide to ease quarantine restrictions after Easter, it will have to be done selectively, depending on the risks.”

He also said that it was to early to reopen borders within the European Union.

‘Critical’ weekend

The Easter weekend will be critical for managing the coronavirus epidemic in Lithuania, the country’s Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said on Monday, urging people to stay at home and refrain from visiting their relatives.

“The Easter weekend will indeed be critical as people may be tempted to go out, may feel tempted to visit their relatives, their parents or grandparents. We advise them strongly against doing so,” the minister said at a news conference.

Thus far, Lithuania “has been coping with the situation relatively well”, he said, noting in particular the absence of spikes in new cases like the ones observed in Italy or Spain.

However, the situation might change drastically in the span of just one week if people were to flout the coronavirus quarantine.

Veryga said that there were no reasons for tightening the current restrictions, adding that people should “refrain from reckless behaviour”.

As for which restrictions might be relaxed after Easter, Veryga said that people might be allowed freer use of “certain services, if it is possible to maintain special safeguards”.

“We have not made any decisions yet, but I am sure these will be made in the near future,” Veryga assured.