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19 Mar 2020 | 04:41 AM UTC

Lithuania: Government closes borders to foreign nationals March 16 /update 2

Government prohibits entry to foreign nationals and implements quarantine measures nationwide due to COVID-19 March 16; abide by authority directives

entry/exit
health
transportation
LTU

Event

As of Monday, March 16, at 00:01 (local time), Lithuania closed its borders to foreign citizens and prohibited Lithuanian nationals from leaving the country to limit the spread of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 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. Those who wish to return to their country of residence will be allowed to transit though the territory until 00:00 on Monday, March 23. Authorities also implemented quarantine measures nationwide scheduled to last until at least Monday March 30, at 23:59. 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.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, February 25. As a precautionary measure, the government suspended schools as of March 16 and advised children to stay at home.

As of Thursday, March 19, Lithuanian authorities have confirmed 34 cases of COVID-19. 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 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.