2020.04.15 13:16

Lithuania to seal off town to contain coronavirus hotspot

updated 2020.04.15 13:16

Nemenčinė, a town near the Lithuanian capital, will be locked down for a week after an alarming spread of the coronavirus, the government decided on Wednesday.

"The situation there is fairly threatening and dangerous," Skvernelis said earlier on Wednesday. "We have to take immedaite measures, and that's what we are doing."

Starting Thursday morning, travel in and out of Nemenčinė – a town of about 5,000 people some 20 kilometres north of Vilnius – will be controlled, according to the government. Car travel within the town remains unrestricted.

“Only those who live and work [in Nemenčinė] will be allowed to enter, otherwise only with a special permit from the National Public Health Centre,” Skvernelis posted on Facebook. “Leaving the town will be allowed to those who work elsewhere and who need to leave due to health.”

He added, however, that goods will continue to be delivered to the town. "I have been assured that Nemenčinė residents will definitely not lack products as there are plenty of shops and their operation will not be suspended," said Skvernelis.

Nemenčinė became a coronavirus hotspot over the last weekend after a number of workers at a local garment factory were diagnosed with Covid-19.

Nineteen infections were confirmed at the Vilnika factory as of Wednesday, with six workers hospitalised, according to the company's director Rolandas Jackevičius.

The factory has since been closed, he confirmed.

Covid-19 was also diagnosed to an employee of a local elderly nursing home. Thirteen other staff members have been isolated.

The nursing home employs around 150 people who take care of over 200 elderly residents.

Skvernelis said that all employees of Vilnika as well as the nursing home would be tested for the coronavirus.