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2021.09.23 09:20

Lithuania to cut isolation time after coronavirus exposure, decide on mandatory facemasks

Augustas Stankevičius, BNS2021.09.23 09:20

Lithuania is planning to cut the time a person must stay in isolation after being exposed to a confirmed coronavirus case, according to the health minister.

“In light of both the vaccination situation and practices in other countries, we are going to reduce the period from 14 to 10 days,” Arūnas Dulkys told reporters on Wednesday.

The new rule will apply to everyone, but the main reason for changing it is to ensure a smooth education process in schools, according to the minister.

Currently, everyone who has had high-risk exposure must self-isolate for 14 days, unless they are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

Some of the isolation rules in schools are to be changed in the near future, too.

“From now on, only a child with a confirmed coronavirus infection will be isolated,“ Dulkys said. “Children sitting next to the [infected] child will be asked to take a PCR test. If they do not want to do it, then they'll have to go into isolation for 10 days.”

Children who test negative will be able to return to their classrooms right away, Dulkys added.

Decision on facemasks expected next week

There is consensus in the cabinet that facemask wearing rules need to be tightened, according to Dulkys. However, the government has yet to decide whether to do it by calling another quarantine or leaving the extreme situation regime currently in place.

“Together with the lawyers, we'll look at whether it should be done in the context of the extreme situation or a quarantine,” he said, adding that proposals will be submitted to the cabinet next week.

Dulkys said the government is likely to make facemasks mandatory again in indoor public settings.

The government is also considering to instruct public sector workers to switch to teleworking, he said.

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