VILNIUS – The Lithuanian government on Wednesday extended the coronavirus lockdown for another month, until April, but allowed not to wear facemasks outdoors and to travel between cities and their surrounding municipalities.
"Probably most or even all of us expected a week ago that we'd be able to take other decisions this week," Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte told the Cabinet. "It's a pity that the circumstances don't allow us to go ahead according to the plan we've approved."
The Cabinet extended the ban on non-essential travel between municipalities until March 15, but permitted people living in the cities and districts of Alytus, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Panevezys, Siauliai and Vilnius to move between the city and the surrounding district.
From now on, it will not be mandatory to wear facemasks in open spaces if a distance of at least two meters from other people is maintain. The indoor mask-wearing rules remain unchanged.
Simonyte said the decision to permit travel between the so-called "inner circle municipalities" had been planned since the previous week and the decision on facemasks was based on experts' recommendations.
The Health Ministry asked the Cabinet to extend the lockdown through March 31 due to the continuing unfavorable epidemiological situation in the country.
According to the ministry, the daily number of new coronavirus cases has stopped falling and the share of positive tests had been growing for a week. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has increased this week, too.