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11 Apr 2020 | 03:07 AM UTC

Lithuania: Border controls and nationwide restrictions extended through April 27 /update 5

Authorities extend border controls and nationwide restrictions until April 27 amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; follow government directives

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health
transportation
LTU

Event

On Wednesday, April 8, the government announced that the existing border controls and nationwide restrictions, set to expire on Monday, April 13, will be extended for an additional two weeks through Monday, April 27, in continued efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Under the initial decree, 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. Schools and the majority of businesses remain closed except for essential shops such as grocery stores and pharmacies, and all indoor and outdoor gatherings remain prohibited. The government potentially expects easing the domestic restrictions after Easter.

The Lithuanian government also announced that all domestic travel over Easter weekend from 20:00 (local time) on Friday, April 10, to 20:00 on Monday, April 13, will be banned . Authorities will set up checkpoints outside of towns across the country from Friday evening to Monday evening 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 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 routes or with special authorization from the Lithuanian government. The transportation of goods will be not affected and repatriation flights may continue to operate. 

As of Saturday, April 11, there are 1026 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 23 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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.