VILNIUS - Paid tests for COVID-19 could be performed not only by private but also by state-owned laboratories, Deputy Health Minister Kristina Garuoliene said Monday.
"We are planning to expand the scope of paid testing, and to obligate and make it possible for employers to have (their employees) tested for a fee," she said. "We have state-owned laboratories that could perform paid tests if needed."
The authorities are also considering allowing more private laboratories to perform paid tests for coronavirus.
Currently, the following five private laboratories have the permission: Diagnostikos Laboratorija, Medicina Practica Laboratorija, Invitro Diagnostika, SK Impeks Medicinos Diagnostikos Centras and „Baltic Medics.
Tests are or can be performed by Santaros Klinikos, Kauno Klinikos, Klaipeda University Hospital, the National Public Health Surveillance Laboratory and other major public laboratories.
According to Garuoliene, legislation is currently being drafted to require foreign nationals to pay for tests in Lithuania. The costs could also be covered by companies that want to hire them.
Lithuanian Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga last week ordered foreigners arriving from countries outside the European Economic Area, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to self-isolate for two weeks.
The minister's decree also requires foreign travelers to register with the National Public Health Centre (NPHC) within 24 hours on their arrival in Lithuania.
Foreign nationals from countries on Lithuania's list of COVID-19 affected countries must also get tested for the virus.
More than 60 countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Israel, the US, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Russia and Serbia, are currently on the list which is regularly updated by the health ministry.
"The employer, the inviting person or foreigners themselves must pay for the isolation premises as well as transportation to the isolation premises and to the place of taking a swab for the coronavirus infection," according to the document.
The requirements were tightened after more than 20 employees of Hegelmann Transporte, a transport company in Kaunas, tested positive for COVID-19. Most of them are drivers from Uzbekistan.