On Wednesday, April 8, the Lithuanian government announced that all travel over Easter weekend, which is from Friday, April 10, to Monday, April 13, will be banned due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities will set up checkpoints outside of towns across the country from Friday evening to Monday evening (local time) in order to enforce the ban. Approximately 3000 police officers and military police will staff the checkpoints over the weekend, and all vehicles will be stopped for checks. Exceptions to the travel restriction will be made for individuals returning home or traveling to a second home, those traveling for work, and those visiting family after a death.
On Wednesday, April 1, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga announced that air and sea passenger travel will be suspended from Saturday, April 4. Exemptions have been made for the Kiel (Germany) - Klaipeda ferry route or with special authorization from the Lithuanian government. The transportation of goods will be not affected, and repatriation flights may continue to operate.
Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, February 25. On Monday, March 16, Lithuania closed its borders to foreign citizens and prohibited Lithuanian nationals from leaving the country. Exceptions will be made for drivers and crew members in the case of commercial or international goods transportation, as well as for military and diplomatic staff. Individuals arriving from foreign countries will be subject to 14-day mandatory quarantine. Authorities also implemented quarantine measures nationwide scheduled to last until at least Monday, April 13. Schools and the majority of businesses have been closed except for essential shops such as grocery stores and pharmacies, and all indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited.
As of April 8, there have been 912 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 15 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.