2020.06.11 10:56

Coronavirus: 19 new cases as Lithuanians ‘rush to party’

BNS2020.06.11 10:56

Lithuania confirmed 19 new coronavirus cases over Wednesday, the biggest daily increase in a month.

This brings the country's total Covid-19 count to 1,752, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Only 296 are active cases, while 1,372 have recovered.

Seventy-four people have died of Covid-19 in the country so far. Ten more coronavirus-infected patients have died of other causes.

On Wednesday, 5,396 people in Lithuania were tested for the coronavirus.

‘Rush to party’

New infections reported in recent days have been attributed to private parties. Six people who attended a private party in Kernavė, a town near Vilnius, last week got infected with Covid-19 and later passed the infection to three children.

Read more: Cluster near Vilnius expands, postman tests positive

Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga warned that holding celebrations and gatherings “has a price”, urging people to maintain social distancing.

“One person gets infected and we have dozens of people who had close contact with him or her. We test all of them and find a dozen infected. This is how the disease is spreading,” the minister said on Thursday.

Commenting on the latest increase in Covid-19 cases, the minister said some areas in the country could be placed under local quarantine to stop the spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, the government decided to lift a nationwide quarantine on June 17.

“People are eager [to come together again]. We do see and understand how difficult it is for people to cope [with isolation], because there's a lot of tension and anger and it's difficult to live [under quarantine restrictions],” he added.

Read more: New coronavirus cases in Lithuania linked to private parties

Half cases from 2 clusters

Nine of the new cases are linked to two known hotspots of coronavirus infection, the National Public Health Centre (NVSC) told BNS.

Among the diagnosed are three employees of the Santara Clinic in Vilnius, two of their family members and one patient.

One of the hospital employees has been to a gym, the NVSC representative Roldanda Lingienė said. Health officials have traced 94 other people with whom the person came into contact.

Three other Covid-19 cases are children of people who got the infection at the Kervavė party. The infections were already reported on Wednesday.

In all, six participants at the party have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and nine people who had contact with them.

The NVSC is currently monitoring 61 people who had contact with the Kernavė cluster, according to Lingienė.

Four of the 19 new cases are not linked to any of the known clusters.

Lingienė said it was too early to speak of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“We need to analyse the epidemiologic situation carefully. [...] Since there are more cases than last week, we will definitely look into it,” she said.

“However, we cannot rule out that the second wave can begin even before autumn. It will depend on how people observe recommendations, take responsibility,” Lingienė added.