Lithuania Closes Borders for 15 days due to COVID-19

Lithuania announced a nation-wide quarantine from March 16 to March 30

Lithuania announced a nation-wide quarantine from March 16 to March 30. During this time period, foreign citizens, except those having a residence or work permit, won’t be allowed entry. The time period may be reassessed during or after the announced quarantine. So far, fourteen cases of COVID-19 have been identified; all of them are people having returned from abroad.

Terms of the quarantine:

  • foreign citizens cannot enter the country from March 16 00:00 (exempt from the ruling are those that have a valid residence permit, as well as truck drivers, diplomats, NATO enlisted and support personnel as well as their family members);
  • transit of people returning to their country via Lithuanian territory is possible until March 19, 00:00;
  • Lithuanian citizens are barred from exiting the country, except citizens returning to their country of residence or work;
  • all mass events are banned;
  • movement of goods is unrestricted;
  • inter-city buses are instructed to limit the number of passengers;
  • all public institutions will provide services only remotely;
  • all cafes, bars and restaurants to provide takeaway services only;
  • all non-essential goods retail stores to provide shipping services only;

Full list of measures under the quarantine can be accessed here.

If you are a foreign citizen planning to return to your home country during the quarantine, we strongly advise contacting your embassy immediately. Here’s a list of Lithuania-based embassies and consulates.

A set of pre-emptive measures implemented before the quarantine since mid-February helped the Baltic nation to minimize panic and mitigate the risks of contagion:

Keeping all publics informed. The Government established a uniform communication channel on January 27. All key publics (medical professionals, journalists, citizens) have a reliable source of information updated once per day.

State of Emergency drill initiated pre-emptively. Declaring a State of Emergency before the first case was even reported allowed the Government to:

  • set up a state-level operations centre under the leadership of the Minister of Health;
  • gain access to the federal reserve;
  • simplify public procurement procedures;
  • streamline the production of disinfectant materials (production started by private contractors on March 6, a total of 80,000 litres have already been produced);
  • manage preventive measures at points of entry;
  • declare influenza epidemic status on the municipal level to facilitate;
  • help at-risk citizens to self-quarantine;
  • limit mass events.

More about these and other measures can be found here.

Containment strategy at work – as of the morning of March 16, fourteen cases have been reported.

As of March 14, 520 samples in Lithuania were tested. 9176 individuals are currently under watch after returning from high-risk territories or being in contact with potential carriers.

Article by Keliauk Lietuvoje
Photo by A. Aleksandravičius