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2020.11.03 12:27

Coronavirus: Lithuania reports 897 new infections, national quarantine proposed

LRT.lt2020.11.03 12:27

The spread of the coronavirus continues unabated in Lithuania, with 897 new infections reported on Tuesday. Five people died of Covid-19 over Monday, according to the National Public Health Centre (NVSC).

Fewer people were tested over the last days, with 4,993 tests performed on Monday, which was a public holiday. Eighteen percent of them came in positive.

In all, Lithuania has confirmed 17,453 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, 12,283 of them remain classified as active cases.

At the moment, 34,794 people in the country are in isolation.

Lithuania's coronavirus death toll currently stands at 175.

As of Tuesday, the country's cumulative 14-day infection count is 293.4 per 100,000 people.

National quarantine in sight

The Lithuanian government will decide on Wednesday whether to introduce a nationwide quarantine for at least three weeks starting on Saturday, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday.

“We will propose tomorrow that the government introduce a nationwide quarantine at the end of the week, most probably from midnight on Saturday,” he said after a meeting of the government's Covid-19 response committee.

Thirty-four of Lithuania's 60 municipalities are currently in the so-called ‘red zone’ with high Covid-19 infection rates and 21 are under local quarantines.

Lithuania's 14-day coronavirus incidence rate currently stands at almost 300 cases per 100,000 people. The country's daily count surged above 1,000 for the first time last weekend.

The proposed restrictions include:

- Restaurants, bars and cafes will only be allowed to provide take-away services.

- Retailers and pharmacies will not be closed, but will have to ensure that social distancing is maintained.

- Attendance limits on parties will be set and up to ten people, only the closest relatives, will be allowed to attend weddings and funerals.

- The government will recommend suspending public services at churches.

- Restrictions on social contacts will be tightened, allowing a maximum of ten people from two households to meet together.

- Movement between cities and towns will not be restricted, but will not be recommended either, according to Skvernelis.

- Hairdressers and beauty salons will be allowed to operate without major restrictions as long as they follow coronavirus safety guidelines.

- Gyms, pools, SPA centres, museums, cinemas and theaters will be closed. Libraries will be able to operate remotely.

- No spectators will be permitted at sporting events.

- No restrictions will be placed on kindergartens and primary schools, leaving it up to parents to decide.

- Secondary school students will have half of their classes at school and half online.

- Universities will be asked to switch to all-remote teaching where possible.

1,000 medical workers with Covid-19

“We now have almost 1,000 medics, not only doctors, but also nurses and their assistants, still ill with COVID-19,” Daiva Razmuvienė of the National Public Health Centre told reporters on Tuesday.

Out of more than 1,500 medics who have contracted the coronavirus since March, 1,132 got infected in between September and early November, she said.

Covid-19 outbreaks have been recorded at some 60 care homes in Lithuania, Razmuvienė said, with a recent outbreak at one in Klaipėda of particular concern.

“There's an ongoing outbreak at a care home called Klaipėdos Viltis (Klaipeda Hope), and 22 new cases were recorded on Monday, bringing the total number of infections at this establishment to 56. The majority involve residents, while the rest are staff members,” according to Razmuvienė.

New cases were reported at ten medical institutions on Monday. In all, there have been almost 60 outbreaks at health care establishments in Lithuania since the start of the pandemic.