Lithuania's national lockdown, which includes restrictions on businesses and intercity travel, will be extended until the end of February, the government decided on Wednesday.
Introduced in mid-December, the measures were to expire on January 31.
The proposal to extend the lockdown, drafted by the Health Ministry, notes that while infection numbers have gone down, “the number of new weekly cases remains significant”.
According to the ministry, Lithuania diagnosed 14,415 new infections between January 12 and January 25, or 515.6 per 100,000 people.
Mortality also remains high: 849 people in Lithuania died of Covid-19 in January so far, only slightly down from 1,176 deaths reported in December.
Under the restrictions, non-essential retail businesses and services have been ordered to close, schools and universities have moved teaching online, and physical interactions between different households have been limited.
Non-essential travel between different municipalities is not allowed.
According to the Health Ministry, around 7 percent of the population is considered immune from Covid-19: 2 percent have been vaccinated, while 5 percent have recovered from the disease.
Review every week
“I suggest that, at this stage, we make the decision to basically extend the date of the current restrictions, but [...] we'll return to these issues every week, or even several times a week,” Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė told the cabinet on Wednesday.
The cabinet will discuss the latest pandemic data and changes on Friday, she said, and the State Emergency Commission will assemble next Monday.
“Then we'll look at whether we can go back to [discussing] clearer dates [for exiting the lockdown] and more concrete decisions on Wednesday,” she said. “At this point, we are doing what we must do to have some legal clarity.”