Thirty-seven new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Lithuania over Monday, bringing the total number to 880, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday morning.
One person with Covid-19 died on Monday night, the 15th in the country. The person was treated at Marijampolė hospital in western Lithuania.
The 88-year-old victim had been admitted to the hospital in late March with pneumonia, according to the town's municipal administration director Karolis Podolskis.
As of Monday, 15 people had died of the virus and eight had recovered.
The Health Ministry said that 2,208 people were tested for Covid-19 on Monday, and 27,807 tests have been carried since the beginning of the epidemic.
Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said that Lithuania would step up coronavirus testing as of Tuesday, after having cut it on Sunday and Monday. A number of mobile testing sites had been ordered to take fewer samples, as laboratories were not able to analyse them fast enough.
Mobile testing points will be working at full capacity again, Veryga said.
Epidemic to peak in 'coming weeks'
The coronavirus epidemic in Lithuania might reach its peak in the coming weeks and the number of severe cases and deaths will increase, the country's chief epidemiologist Loreta Ašoklienė told reporters on Monday.
Lower numbers of new cases recorded in the past few days gave rise to false hopes that the epidemic might have already peaked in Lithuania, she said.
“I would like to point out that it is too early to calm down. This virus has been spreading in a non-conventional way and, in our view, the epidemic has not yet reached its peak, which might perhaps be hit in the coming weeks. This means that we will record way more cases in the weeks to come,” said Ašoklienė.
In Europe, the mortality rate from Covid-19 reached eight percent, whereas in Lithuania the death rate stood at 1.5 percent so far, accoridng to her.
“However, with the epidemic evolving, we are likely to face more severe cases, more deaths, we will simply be unable to avoid that,” said Ašoklienė.
The timing of the peak would depend on the behaviour of residents and on the efficiency of measures to restrict their movement, she added.
“Restrictions should remain in place and their easing, in my opinion, could only be discussed when we are certain that the spread of the epidemic has started to decrease,” said Asoklienė.
Most cases in Lithuania are local
"Only 25 percent of infections now are the so-called imported cases. Three quarters are local, so the virus is spreading inside the country," Giedrius Surplys, a government spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday.
"Out of the total number of the patients, 40 percent are under 40-years-old. The remaining 60 percent are 40 or over," he said.
Surplys said that, based on the World Health Organziation's data, the infection is the most dangerous for those aged 80 and over.
"The virus is less dangerous for younger people, [as] the death rate is below one percent. So, I would like to pay your attention one more time that we need to protect senior citizens and really express our love other ways, not through close contact," he said.
Private clinic authorised to treat diplomats in Lithuania
Baltic American Clinic will provide healthcare to diplomats and their families in Lithuania if they get infected with Covid-19, the Health Ministry said on Monday.
The private clinic was authorised to treat coronavirus patients by Lithuanian Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga.
The ministry will now allocate the necessary personal protective equipment and disinfectant to the clinic.
Patients diagnosed with coronavirus are currently treated in the hospitals of Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Panevėžys. The list of establishments treating coronavirus patients would be expanded if necessary, the ministry said.