Lithuania backs softening of self-isolation requirements for arrivals – PM

  • 2020-09-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania would back softening of self-isolation requirements for incoming people by increasing the rate threshold that makes self-isolation mandatory, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says, adding that a common position of the EU or at least the Baltic states is needed for that.

"Speaking of countries that are subjected to self-isolation, in fact there are not that many countries where people coming from them need to do that, there are two or three left. That's why, of course, we expect a common European decision," Skvernelis told a press conference on Wednesday.

In his words, Lithuania is in favor of raising that threshold of coronavirus cases that requires self-isolation, stressing, however, the importance of agreeing with other countries.

The prime minister also underlined that a common agreement among the three Baltic states was necessary to maintain the so-called Baltic "travel bubble".

"I already talked to my Latvian counterpart yesterday and also the Estonian prime minister, and the Estonians suggested raising it from 16 to 25 (per population of 100,000 – BNS). I would be inclined to agree upon consultations with our specialists. The Latvians have their own opinion but the health minister told us negotiations would be taking place until Friday and we should have the final decisions, probably, on Friday," Skvernelis said.

If the bid to agree with Latvia fails, then other solutions would be considered, like the assessment of separate territories within states, he said.

The European Commission suggests applying common travel criteria in all member states and not to require people to self-isolate if they arrive from areas where the cumulative 14-day coronavirus rate is beyond 25 per population of 100,000.

The EC recommendations also suggest that member states could decide themselves on whether to require people arriving from areas with coronavirus rates between 25 and 50 per population of 100,000 to undergo a coronavirus test.

If people arrived from countries with coronavirus rates above 50 per population of 100,000, member states would subject arrival to a quarantine or require a coronavirus test to be done, with the latter preferred by the EC.

Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said on Monday Lithuania backs the EC proposal.

Currently, Lithuanian required that people self-isolate upon arrival from countries where the cumulative 14-day coronavirus rate is above 16 per population of 100,000.