2021.07.26 17:01

Lithuania mulls mandatory vaccination in key sectors, linking restrictions with hospitalisation rates

BNS2021.07.26 17:01

Lithuania may introduce mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 for workers in certain professions, Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys said on Monday.

"For the [parliament's] autumn session, we will be getting ready for a discussion on introducing mandatory vaccination for certain activities," Dulkys told reporters after an informal cabinet meeting on Monday.

First of all, the requirement would apply to medics and care home workers, he said.

Free testing for immunity certificates to be scrapped

People who are not vaccinated or have not had Covid-19 will have to pay for their coronavirus test to get Lithuania's national immunity certificate, according to Dulkys.

"It's only a matter of days, but [...] the state will no longer cover the costs of testing for a national certificate," he said.

Testing for coronavirus immunity certificates will become paid "in the near future" and only molecular (PCR) tests will be valid, according to Dulkys.

Linking restrictions to hospitalisations

The government will consider new Covid-19 restrictions if the number of hospitalised coronavirus patients crosses the 300 mark showing that "the health system is getting overstrained”.

Some 100 Covid-19 patients are currently being treated in Lithuanian hospitals, including 13 in intensive care units, according to the latest statistics.

"We can't go back to a situation where people lose access to regular health care services because of restrictions," he said, adding that any new restrictions will be linked to hospitalisation rates.

The minister did not elaborate on what restrictions could be put in place.

Dulkys also said the country might move from the current status of emergency situation to quarantine if the government deems it necessary.

With the Delta variant spreading in Lithuania, vaccination is necessary to avoid stricter restrictions, he added.

The current vaccination and morbidity trends suggest that the occupancy of hospital beds for coronavirus patients will likely reach the 300 threshold in three to four weeks, he said.

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