2020.11.20 10:59

Lithuanian parliament to continue meetings despite outbreak among MPs

BNS2020.11.20 10:59

Lithuania’s parliament will continue holding sittings next week despite an outbreak among MPs.

The lawmakers and their staff will be regularly tested for the coronavirus, according Paulius Saudargas, vice speaker of the Seimas.

On Thursday, Lithuania's outgoing Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga also called for the parliament to suspend work for at least two weeks after a breakout among MPs.

Veryga's appeal came after Seimas’ Speaker Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, head of the Liberal Movement in the ruling coalition, got tested for the coronavirus.

"The priority now is making a pause. It is possible to contain the outbreak in two weeks,” he said.

Veryga called on lawmakers to cooperate with epidemiologists from the National Public Health Centre and go into isolation to prevent the virus from spreading further.

The minister said it was "more than clear" that the coronavirus outbreak had started in the Liberal Movement, criticising the party for failing to follow social distancing guidelines.

On Thursday evening, Čmilytė-Nielsen announced on Facebook that she had fallen ill with the coronavirus.

"My colleagues from the [Liberal Movement's parliamentary] group have received negative test results, but I am joining the ranks of the infected," Čmilytė-Nielsen wrote on Facebook earlier on Thursday, adding that she had developed no symptoms of Covid-19.

Three other members of the Liberal Movement's parliamentary group – Viktoras Pranckietis, Gintaras Vaičekauskas and Jonas Varkalys – have posted positive for the virus in recent days.

Lithuania’s outgoing defence minister, Raimundas Karoblis, also tested positive for Covid-19.

In April, the Lithuanian parliament voted against working remotely.

Read more: Lithuanian MPs decide they will not work from home