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Minister of Health Arūnas Dulkys told reporters Thursday that so far there is no need to introduce a lockdown or a state of emergency because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
Arūnas Dulkys
Arūnas Dulkys
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

“Summarising what we have witnessed, the conclusion is that in Lithuania there is really no reason to consider declaring the state of emergency. There is no reason to discuss the introduction of a national quarantine,” Dulkys said at a press conference.

Nonetheless, the minister stated that the epidemiological situation in the country calls for a flexible approach.

“From what we have seen, from what the figures indicate, from the situation in Lithuania’s healthcare system and hospitals, this is a new situation requiring new measures and flexibility,” noted Dulkys.

The minister explained that when tackling the pandemic not only the number of cases is taken into account but also the number of patients in hospitals and in intensive care units.

“All these weeks the situation in Lithuania has been stable, the number of patients [in hospitals] is 130-140. In intensive care units it fluctuates between 5 and 10,” he said, pointing out that these numbers are much lower than they were last year.

Furthermore, the minister said that the situation with COVID-19 has been successfully managed on secondary and tertiary levels of the healthcare system, but some tension emerged on the primary level, which encompasses family doctors and outpatient hospitals.

Therefore, it was realised that new measures were needed in preparation for the autumn, when pupils would return to schools and more people would work from offices after the summer holidays. As a result, Deputy Minister of Health Aušra Bilotienė Motiejūnienė announced that as of next week people would be able to self-diagnose COVID-19 with personal testing kits sold at pharmacies.

Test results will have to be sent to a family doctor without having to visit one in person. The doctor will then input the positive test data into the e-health database. If a case is more serious, a person will have to go to a hospital for a molecular PCR test.

The deputy minister noted that the new process would provide more precise data on the number of COVID-19 cases in Lithuania. However, if COVID-19 is diagnosed by self-testing, a person will not be issued an EU certificate on recovery from COVID-19.

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