Lithuania allows unrestricted entry to Belarusians 'for humanitarian purposes'

  • 2020-08-12
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania is lifting coronavirus travel restrictions for foreign students and investors, and Belarus' nationals seeking entry "for special humanitarian purposes".  

The Interior Ministry proposed to include Belarusians to the list of foreign nationals not subject to the existing coronavirus-related bans "in light of the current developments in the neighboring country", Interior Minister Rita Tamasuniene told the Cabinet on Wednesday. 

The ministry suggested including "an additional category of foreigners" into the government's resolution, Tamasuniene said. 

"These are foreigners coming to Lithuania for special humanitarian purposes," she added.

The bans will not apply to foreigners who have registered partnerships with Lithuanian citizens abroad either.

The Cabinet increased the maximum number of attendees at indoor events from 500 to 600 as of August 16. The current plan calls for removing the attendance limit as of September 1, with certain mandatory safety requirements to be put in place. 

The government also extended temporary internal border controls at international airports and the seaport of Klaipeda until August 14.  

"This is the maximum period under the Schengen Borders Code," Tamasuniene said.

The Education, Science and Sport Ministry has said it has been receiving "a lot of inquiries on students' arrival" in the run-up to the new academic year, adding that EU recommendations also provide for a freer movement of this group of people.

The Economy and Innovation Ministry has said the country must facilitate entry for investors who "usually don't make investment decisions without visiting the country".

Exceptions will also apply to sports medicine specialists.

The Cabinet did not discuss Environment Minister Kestutis Mazeika's proposal to allow unrestricted entry to builders, too. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said the proposal was yet to be discussed by the COVID-19 crisis management committee.