2020.10.16 17:44

Lockdown unavoidable, unless people follow safety guidelines – Lithuanian president

BNS2020.10.16 17:44

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has urged people follow all coronavirus safety guidelines, warning that the country may have to return to stringent quarantine restrictions if the situation gets out of control.

The president's call comes as Lithuania reported a new record daily increase in infections for the second day in a row on Friday.

“Basically, there are two ways. The first way is to try to test as many people as possible, to trace clusters and the path of the virus, and to isolate the affected people,” Nausėda said in an audio recording from Brussels where he is taking part in an EU summit.

“If the first way is no longer appropriate and the number of infections has increased significantly, the second way is to suspend activities, shut cafes, bars and public institutions and thus try to get the process under control by introducing a nationwide lockdown,” he added.

Nausėda said the first option was more acceptable for Lithuania and less damaging to the economy and social life, but warned that the country's epidemiologists were already “on the brink” of failing to trace clusters of infection.

The president called on people to wear facemasks, practice social distancing and take other precautions against Covid-19.

Mobilising against coronavirus

Next week, Nausėda plans to visit the National Public Health Centre to meet with epidemiologists who “are under tremendous stress and are trying to do their best in this situation”.

The president said that he was well aware of the public's “coronavirus fatigue”, but called for patience, noting that other countries had been even harder hit by the second wave of the coronavirus.

“Despite the growing coronavirus fatigue, let's say to each other and our loved ones that what we are having now is very serious. And the more mobilised were are now, the more losses we will avoid in the future,” he said.

Lithuania's daily coronavirus cases surged to 255 on Thursday and hit a new record high of 281 on Friday. Covid-19 claimed three lives in the past 48 hours.

The virus is spreading in hospitals, care facilities and schools. About a fifth of infections cannot be traced to any known sources.