VILNIUS – Having taken the 1st COVID-19 wave under control, Lithuania has relaxed too much, President Gitanas Nauseda says. In his words, it’s still possible to manage the pandemic without halting the economy, but the daily case rate continues to grow, therefore, there might be no choice.
"I don’t think time was used effectively. It seems to me that a lulling mood prevailed after we fairly justly concluded that we took the first coronavirus wave under control very well and Lithuania was really among those countries that were examples for other states," the president told journalists on Tuesday.
"But that complacence has probably done its job, and I cannot say that Lithuania is the only one as it seems that today the whole of Europe, which is flashing red with negative statistics, can probably reproach itself for having relaxed too much or believed that the second wave would probably not be as the first one," the president added.
Lithuania, however, is still at a point where the spread of the virus can still be taken under control without introducing tough economic restrictions, Nauseda said.
"We are now at a point where we probably still have a choice between being able to resolve the problem without shutting down the whole economy and halting the whole public life, localizing hotspots, identifying them, tracing back the source and isolating people," the president said.
"If we let the existing statistics out of control and also, let's say, the case rate grows to 400 or 500 per day or, God forbid, 1,000, as we have such projections as well, then practically there's no choice but to shut everything down and get back to the temporary freeze state," he said.
Lithuania has been recording over 200 new coronavirus cases daily since the middle of last week. There are now 91.7 coronavirus cases per population of 100,000 in the country.