VILNIUS – The key task for the incoming government in Lithuania would be to move out of the quarantine situation, the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats' candidate for prime minister Ingrida Simonyte says.
"The key issue the new government will need to think is how to exit that situation as it's not as difficult to pull the handbrake as to move out of it, as the experience of the first wave showed," Simonyte told journalists on Thursday.
The HU-LCD political group in the Seimas on Thursday held a closed-door meeting and discussed the existing situation in the country trying to bring the coronavirus under control with Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga.
Simonyte called the meting with the minister "productive", and speaking of changes to the management of the coronavirus, she vowed to provide the public with more information.
"We received more information on the decisions made by the government, and we hope that the coordination of hospitalization will be better than now. We had a productive meeting and the minister promised that that work handover to the next minister will be smooth and done with good will," Simonyte said.
Asked whether the new government's coronavirus management strategy would be different from that of the outgoing Cabinet, Simonyte said that the public should be better informed.
"I believe communication should be different, and today we can hear the prime minister being inclined to continue frightening people. I don’t know if that helps to pool the public for cooperation as I wouldn’t want the community to believe that the decisions being introduced today are being introduced because the election ended up one way or the other," the candidate for prime minister.
"This government has goals it is pursuing, at least the minister said so. It would be great if those goals were public and there were less speculation as the goal is to contain the new spike in cases and ensure that those new cases do down under a certain limit where our institution could apply the usual control measures, trace back contacts, local outbreaks etc.," Simonyte said.
MINISTER: NO MORE COVID BEDS
Health Minister Veryga said he had "a very productive" conversation with the HU-LCD group.
"We did no politicizing this time as they wanted to hear about the situation, and I introduced them to it. There were many questions on testing strategies, measures, preparations, we had a very productive conversation," the minister told journalists after the meeting.
Veryga also confirmed that there are now more COVID-19 patients than beds for them, therefore, there's no bed reserve and the system is undergoing changes.
"There's no direct reserve for COVID-19 patients as it has been used up. We had 405 COVID beds …. And now we have over 600 patients, meaning that hospitals are now using non-COVID beds and are making changes to other units, and that should not be called a reserve. It’s not longer a reserve, it's systematic restructuring as capacity that was not planned initially is now being used," Veryga said.
MEDICS EXPECT LOCKDOWN TO BRING DOWN CASES
Invited to the discussion by the Seimas opposition, Vilnius University Professor Vytautas Kasiulevicius said the government's decision to place the country into lockdown due to the growing number of coronavirus cases was the right one.
"We've been working for the past week with both the outgoing and the incoming government to prove what should be and what should not be done. The new government will tart working in a month and they will have to deal with what will be done this month. The three-week quarantine should break that new curve, and then we'll see," Kasiulevicius told journalists.
the Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday to introduce three-week quarantine as of Saturday to take the spread of the coronavirus under control after the 14-day coronavirus case rate per population of 100,000 reached 341.