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2022.01.14 09:00

Lithuanian government to overhaul pandemic management amid infection spike

Reda Gilytė, Milda Vilikanskytė, LRT TV, LRT.lt2022.01.14 09:00

New isolation and other pandemic management procedures should be implemented in Lithuania by next week.

With Lithuania reporting record numbers of new coronavirus cases, the pandemic management procedures need to be revised, according to Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys.

The rapid spread of the Omicron strain has increased the workload at testing sites. To free up testing spots for people with symptoms, the government has suspended the requirement for under-16-year-olds to have Covid certificates.

“Testing children at the mobile sites is not our priority at the moment. There are other controls in place for children, including home testing, so we now concentrate on people with symptoms,” Dulkys said.

According to the health minister, the government is also debating whether the Covid certificate is still efefctive in stopping the spread of the Omicron strain.

The Covid certificates were needed to encourage people to get vaccinated, but are now rendered ineffective due to new coronavirus variants, according to Kęstutis Petrikonis, a member of the Board of Experts which advises the government on pandemic management.

“[Covid certificates] can create false impressions that we are safe. Their use should be reviewed with some of their limitations put on hold,” said the professor at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.

This week, the Health Ministry will make a decision on the proposal to shorten the self-isolation period for people who came into contact with those infected with coronavirus, from 10 to 7 days.

It will also decide on the compulsory wearing of respirators at public events.

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