Covid-19, March 10

Covid, with mask. Engin Akyurt. Unsplash

All persons arriving in Lithuania by plane, ferry or bus from Wednesday will have to pass a COVID-19 test abroad and test negative. There are also a few exceptions where the test will not be required – for example for people under 16 years of age, and people coming to Lithuania with their own transport will be able to take the test in Lithuania.

The test must be performed no earlier than 72 hours prior to arrival in Lithuania. The National Centre for Public Health (NVSC) notes that the serological results of antibody tests are not recognized in Lithuania. Travelers must provide a document that proves that the SARS-CoV-2 PCR test or a negative antigen test have been performed. Carriers and tour operators will have the obligation to check whether passengers have the appropriate documents. Without an appropriate document confirming a negative test, passengers will not be allowed to board the plane, ferry or bus.

Healthcare Minister Arūnas Dulkys explained that the government decided to introduce additional restrictions on the one hand because of the rapid spread of the virus mutation and because not all of them did the tests after their return to Lithuania although they were mandatory. The NVSC urges travellers to responsibly assess Lithuanian requirements and arrange for pre-travel tests. This will not only accelerate and facilitate the control process at airports and seaports, but also prevent the possible import and spread of dangerous mutations of the virus in Lithuania.

If someone, despite the new regulations, manages to arrive in Lithuania by public transport and during the inspection, these persons do not present a document confirming a negative COVID-19 test result or the test was performed earlier than 72 hours before arrival, it will be noted by the relevant services. An investigation into administrative offenses may be launched for such people, the NVSC warns. There is a fine of 500 to 1500 euros for violating the quarantine.

Who are the exceptions? Traveling by personal vehicle – the test can be carried out upon arrival in Lithuania. The crew of transport carrying passengers on international routes will not have to perform the obligatory tests each time; persons in transit through Lithuania; people who have suffered from COVID-19 and the diagnosis of the disease has been confirmed on the basis of a positive PCR or antigen test result and it has not been more than 90 days from the diagnosis of the disease before coming to Lithuania; persons who have been vaccinated with a vaccine registered in the European Union under the vaccination program; persons under 16 years of age.

The government has authorized the opening of all stores with separate entrances from the outside, regardless of their size, as well as the opening of museums and galleries, subject to additional security requirements.

The Minister of Economy and Innovation, Aušrinė Armonaitė, proposed to open kiosks and pavilions at marketplaces with a separate entrance from the outside. The proposal was approved by the government.

It was stressed that large markets, similar to a shopping and entertainment centre, would not work.

The detailed conditions should be approved by the Minister of Health Arūnas Dulkys in the coming days.

The Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce announced an agreement between the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RFPI) and the Italian pharmaceutical company Adienne Srl, which belongs to the Swiss pharmaceutical holding company, on the production of the Sputnik V vaccine in Lombardy, Italy.

Production is scheduled to start in July. By the end of the year, 10 million doses of the vaccine are to be produced.

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has called on European Union members to refrain from nationally authorizing the Russian COVID-19 Sputnik V vaccine. As indicated, its safety and efficacy are under review, and much data is not yet known.

“We need documents that we can review. We also have no data at the moment … on vaccinated people. They are not known. Therefore, I would urgently advise against issuing national emergency permits,” said Christa Wirthumer, managing director of the EMA, to the Austrian television ORF.

“We may have Sputnik V vaccine on the market in the future if all the data is checked. We have started the review and research,” she added.

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