World News

Lithuania to enter three-week COVID lockdown on Saturday

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania’s government on Wednesday declared a three-week lockdown starting on Nov.7, to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus which has accelerated in recent weeks in the Baltic nation.

Lithuania, which imposed a two-month lockdown in March, reported 639 new cases on Wednesday, three times more than the 205 daily cases reported on Oct. 20, bringing the total number of cases to 18,092 with 182 deaths.

Europe has seen a second wave of COVID-19 infections with many countries, including France, Britain and Germany opting for new lockdowns.

“This second lockdown is nothing to be happy about,” Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis told reporters. “It’s all in our hands now, the success will depend on how thoroughly we follow the orders and the recommendations.”

The government said people should avoid social contact and non-essential travel and encouraged people to work-from-home.

Public groups of more than 5 people will be banned and no more than 10 people will be allowed at marriages or funerals.

Secondary schools, universities, gyms will be closed, shops will limit number of customers and restaurants will only be able to serve take-aways.

Neighbouring Latvia will decide on Friday whether to begin a lockdown of its own from next week, local BNS wire reported. The country reported 313 cases on Wednesday, with 6,439 total infections and 79 dead.

Lithuania had reported 340.9 cases per 100,000 people and Latvia at 147.4 cases per 100,000 people as of Wednesday.

Belgium, which tops the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control list, has reported 1669.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Reporting By Andrius Sytas; Editing by Simon Johnson