In a post on Facebook, Healthcare Minister Arūnas Dulkys says that the next three weeks will be very important for Lithuania.
“The incidence is increasing in 2/3 of the EU countries. In Estonia, a strict quarantine was introduced on March 11. The situation in Parisian hospitals is as tense as it was in Lithuania in mid-December. In Poland, the level of infection with the British strain reaches 50-60 per cent. From March 20, shops are closed, and the regions already lack vacancies in hospitals,” the minister writes.
The politician added that Lithuania is one of eight EU countries where the situation is “relatively better.”
“Not because it’s getting better, but because elsewhere, it’s getting worse faster. Even in 40 municipalities, the number of cases is increasing again, hospitals in the Vilnius region are filling up and the dangerous British strain of the virus is starting to take root,” warns Dulkys.
Cases of the South African mutation of the coronavirus have been detected in Lithuania. So far, 2 cases have been confirmed.
Quarantine restrictions may be imposed, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said. She did not specify what these restrictions could be.
According to the prime minister, various restrictions may be introduced in individual municipalities. The decision may be made on Thursday.
“This not only means faster transmission of the virus but can also be a challenge for the vaccination process,” said the head of the government.
At mobile points, it is already possible to perform a quick COVID-19 antigen test by taking samples from the nasal cavity. The procedure is much simpler, does not cause discomfort, and the test results can be obtained after just 30 minutes. The new method has been approved by the National Centre for Public Health.
From Tuesday, employees of prosecutor’s offices, courts, bailiffs and people who have direct contact with other people are invited to regular preventive examinations.
For this test, the sample is collected in a minimally invasive manner by inserting 1.5 to 2-centimetre swabs into the anterior nasal cavity. Such tests help detect coronavirus infection at an early stage of the disease and thus control its further spread.