Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Lithuania eases restrictions introduced to stem spread of COVID-19, May 18; some restrictions remain.

This alert affects Lithuania

This alert began 18 May 2020 15:37 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Authorities in Lithuania have lifted or eased measures introduced to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) May 18. Cafes, restaurants, bars and other indoor entertainment venues can now open; they are permitted to operate 0800-2200, provided strict hygiene measures are maintained. Museums and libraries have reopened; social distancing rules must be observed. Zoos, parks, public gardens, and other outdoor public spaces have reopened. Individual and group exercise and sports training can resume provided social distancing rules are observed. Beauty salons and hairdressers have also reopened, with strict hygiene guidelines. Leisure clubs and children's social groups can operate from May 19. Residents are still required to wear face masks in public.

Authorities previously extended the existing quarantine regime through at least May 31; however, restrictions will continue to be eased during this time. Polish, Latvian, and Estonian residents are permitted to enter Lithuania and travel freely, provided they observe social distancing guidelines and have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 14 days. The majority of travelers from other countries remain prohibited from entry, excluding permanent residents, those with family in the country, and diplomats. All arrivals in Lithuania, excluding citizens of Poland, Estonia, and Latvia, are required to self-isolate for 14 days. The restrictions do not apply to freight transport. A limited number of air, rail, and land border crossings are open to facilitate checks on entrants to the country.

Authorities may extend or otherwise amend restrictions on gatherings, businesses, and public services dependent upon the evolution of disease activity in the country. Restrictions may be amended at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Lithuanian government correspond with similar actions taken by other European governments in recent days in response to decreasing COVID-19 activity in the country. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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