Lithuanian government plans to step up coronavirus testing

  • 2021-02-24
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Lithuanian government is planning to increase coronavirus testing and may consider a broader easing of travel restrictions in mid-May, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Wednesday. 

"I expect the health minister to sign, perhaps even today, his legal acts to expand the scope of testing for certain groups that are evenly distributed throughout Lithuania and live in all municipalities," she told the Cabinet. 

She said these groups could include officers or cultural workers   

Increased testing would provide a clearer picture of the pandemic situation in municipalities, according to Simonyte. 

"Probably from mid-March, (...) we could isolate municipalities where the situation is bad from others, rather than isolating all municipalities from each other," she said. 

The current situation shows that the decision to give municipal administrations more freedom to decide on the scope of testing has failed to produce the intended results, the prime minister said.

In some municipalities, the situation looks worse than it actually is because only people at high risk are being tested, she noted.

The government on Wednesday extended the coronavirus lockdown for another month, until April, and the ban on non-essential travel between municipalities until March 15, but lifted restrictions for travelling between the country's six major cities –  Alytus, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Panevezys, Siauliai and Vilnius – and their surrounding districts.