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2021.02.23 11:48

Do not 'scare the public', Lithuania's statistics office told after announcing 'third wave'

LRT.lt, BNS2021.02.23 11:48

Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen has called on the country's statistics office to be cautious in making generalisations about the Covid-19 situation in Lithuania.

Her comment came after Statistics Lithuania warned on Monday that the country appeared to be entering into the third wave of the pandemic.

"The last thing we need now is making hasty decisions and [...] scaring the public,” Čmilytė-Nielsen posted on Facebook. "I think Statistics Lithuania could be more cautious in making assessments and should not rush into generalisations."

The office noted in its press release earlier on Monday that the daily number of new coronavirus cases had stopped falling and the share of positive tests had been growing for a week.

Read more: Coronavirus update: Lithuania ‘entering third wave’ of pandemic

Birutė Stolytė, its spokeswoman, told BNS that the office wanted to draw epidemiologists' attention to the alarming trend.

However, Lithuania's chief epidemiologist Loreta Ašoklienė told reporters that while the growing share of positive tests was a cause for concern, it was too early to speak about a third wave of the pandemic.

Lithuania's 14-day coronavirus infection rate currently stands at 242.8 per 100,000 people. The share of positive tests over the past seven days now stands at 7.8 percent.

Read more: Lithuania is not yet in third wave of pandemic, health officials assure

However, the situation is no longer improving, Mindaugas Stankūnas, professor at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) and member of the government’s expert committee, told LRT RADIO on Tuesday.

“After the epidemiological nightmare in December we have seen a nice, fun way down from the hill and we had gotten used to seeing the number [of new coronavirus cases] decreasing quickly,” he said. “In the past week we have begun to stall.”

“The number of cases definitely are not increasing, [... ] but we have stopped [in seeing the situation improve],” said Stankūnas, adding that we shouldn’t be hasty to call it “a third wave”.