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Facemasks may become mandatory again in Lithuania, PM says

If the number of coronavirus infections rises, facemasks will again become mandatory in public transport, shops, and indoor events, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday.

He instructed the Cabinet to draft a resolution in case the government decides next week to reintroduce the wearing of facemasks.

"I'm not saying the draft resolution will be adopted next week and the masks will be reintroduced," Skvernelis posted on Facebook. "For now, this is a precaution that we may need if we see an increase in the number of infections."

"I do hope this isn't going to happen and we won't have to return to masks and other measures," he added.

Skvernelis called on people to voluntarily wear face masks in public transport, shops and events, where the risk of contracting the virus is higher.

 

"I wouldn't say for now that we are on the brink of a second wave [of Covid-19],” he said. "I'd like to ask everyone to behave responsibly. This particularly concerns people who return to Lithuania from abroad.”

As the Cabinet was discussing raising the attendance limit on public gatherings earlier on Wednesday, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga warned that the mandatory wearing of facemasks at indoor events might be reintroduced if the virus starts spreading at a faster pace.

Ten new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Lithuania on Wednesday.

Lithuania condemns any use of chemical weapons

On 7-10 July, the Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Vidmantas Purlys attends the 94th session of the Executive Council of the OPCW in The Hague. The most important item on the Council’s agenda – the first report of 8 April by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which concluded that units of the Syrian Arab Air Force had used chemical weapons in Syria in March 2017.

The Ambassador emphasized Lithuania’s support for the investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and its findings. V. Purlys recalled that Lithuania strongly condemned any use of chemical weapons and, therefore, believed that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

The Ambassador V. Purlys also drew the Council‘s attention to the problem of chemical weapons dumped at sea, which required consistent cooperation among international organizations, governments, science, industry, and non-governmental organizations. He also underlined that the OPCW had the necessary expertise and technological infrastructure to ensure such cooperation.

On 12 May 2020, Lithuania was elected for the first time ever as a member state to the Executive Council for the 2020-2022 period.

The OPCW, with its 193 member states, was established in 1997. The organization oversees the global endeavor to eliminate chemical weapons.

Masks no longer mandatory in Lithuanian stores, but distance, hygiene requirements remain

VILNIUS - Facemasks will no longer be mandatory in Lithuanian retail stores and places of public events starting on Wednesday, but physical distance and hygiene requirements remain in place, according to a decree signed by Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga on Tuesday. 

Services providers, retailers, and leisure and entertainment venues will have to ensure that at least 1-meter distances are maintained between people, to provide hand sanitizer for customers to use, and to regularly disinfect and air premises. 

People displaying symptoms, such as cough, sneezing and difficulty breathing, will not be allowed in such places.

Wearing facemasks will no longer be mandatory for either visitors or the staff, but still recommended. 

The Health Ministry confirmed to BNS that the same requirements will apply in public transport. 

Lithuania is on Wednesday lifting the nationwide quarantine put in place on March 16 in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but is extending a state of emergency declared in late February.  

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