June 1, 2020 / 5:47 PM / a month ago

Lithuania sings its thanks for quick virus containment

Musicians perform to thank for quick coronavirus disease (COVID-19) containment in Vilnius, Lithuania June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania celebrated its emergence from the coronavirus pandemic on Monday with a series of live musical performances across the country.

More than 400 bands performed in parks, squares and on rooftops, playing sets of up to 15 minutes to comply with still ongoing limits on public gatherings.

“People in Lithuania, they are a little bit anti-social, they like to stay inside already. So it helps, I think,” said one man, Teodoras, 27, as he watched concert by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra in the central square in Vilnius.

The full orchestra, arranged on a pavement next to the cathedral and competing with the tolling of bells from its tower, performed classical compositions by Johannes Brahms and a tango by Astor Piazzolla.

Lithuania closed its borders and entered a strict month-long lockdown in mid-March shortly after first virus infections were detected. It recorded 1678 total cases and 70 deaths as of Monday.

Most restrictions have been removed since then as new cases of the virus slowed down to less than half a dozen per day.

Lithuania created the first “travel bubble” within the European Union with neighbours Latvia and Estonia on May 15, in a bid to jump-start economies damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting By Andrius Sytas; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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