Policy responses for Lithuania - HSRM

Lithuania


Policy responses for Lithuania

1. Preventing transmission

The section on PREVENTING TRANSMISSION includes information on key public health measures that aim to prevent the further spread of the disease. It details how countries are advising the general public and people who (might) have the disease to prevent further spread, as well as measures in place to test and identify cases, trace contacts, and monitor the scale of the outbreak.

1.1 Health communication

On 26th of February 2020, the State Level Emergency on coronavirus threat was declared. Agencies responsible for issuing guidelines and recommendations on COVID-19 prevention to public are the Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS (CCD) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The official advice on hand hygiene was published by the CCD (1) and MOH and included both written and graphical explanation on how to wash hands (2). On 24th of March stricter hygiene requirements at supermarkets were adopted with the obligation for retailers to provide had disinfectants for clients.(3)

Hand hygiene recommendations (washing hands frequently with warm water and soap or using hand sanitiser) and advertising campaign on respiratory etiquette (coughing or sneezing into the inner side of the bent elbow or into a disposable napkin) were publicised by the CCD via national and local mass-media from the end of February.(4) On 9th of March recommendations for churches on frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette were released. Further advice to avoid touching face and eyes with hands, and reminder of respiratory etiquette was issued on 20th of March. On 23rd of March recommendation,(5)  and since 10th of April an obligation (6) to wear medical masks in public places was issued. In the absence of a medical mask, a fabric mask covering the nose and mouth can be used. It is also recommended to wear disposable gloves in public areas where items are in contact. Throughout March, the Ministry of Health has sought to increase awareness and oblige people to strictly observe personal hygiene requirements (hand hygiene, cough etiquette). On 14th of May it was announced that face coverings are only mandatory from 6 years of age and in certain public places (e.g. closed public spaces with exception of places for public retail areas, events, public transport boarding spots), in other cases – they are recommended. (7) In the last week of May, there have been reports of an increase in the number of people without masks in areas where mask wearing is mandatory, therefore MOH keeps reiterating the message.(8) From 1st August, face masks are again mandatory to wear on public transportation and in enclosed shopping and service locations.(10) From 21st August face coverings must be worn in both outdoor and indoor cafes. (11).

Official information is communicated through the official government websites and via mass media. There are daily press briefings (see also section 5). Official website for COVID-19 – related information in Lithuania: www.koronastop.lt Official statistics on COVID-19, including cases, deaths, testing, etc. can be found on the MOH website https://sam.lrv.lt/koronavirusas and via official COVID-19 dashboard  https://registrucentras.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/becd01f2fade4149ba7a9e5baaddcd8d

On 25th of May updated guidelines for protection against coronavirus infection were issued. (9)

Recommendations concerned the use of PPE and personal hygiene:
- To wear nose and mouth protection, especially in places where it is not possible to keep a safe distance (more than 2 meters) from other people and in places where people who are not normally in contact are encountered.
- The mask should completely cover the mouth and nose; touching the eyes should be avoided; mask should be removed using laces, without touching the mask itself; washing hands after removing or touching the mask; masks should be replaced regularly; disposable masks should not be reused.
- To follow the coughing, sneezing etiquette (into a disposable napkin or on the inside of a bent elbow).
- To wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, soaping hands for at least 20 seconds. If it is not possible to wash hands, use hand antiseptics (disinfectants).
- To avoid touching face, eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands.
- To consider working remotely during quarantine.
- For those with acute signs of upper respiratory tract infections (e.g. fever, runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.) to stay at home and consult the hotline1808 or contact the GP for a tele-consultation.
- When visiting shops, pharmacies, markets, other public open and closed places, to keep a safe distance of at least 2 meters from other people.
- For people with mandatory isolation, to strictly follow the isolation rules throughout the isolation period.

Recommendations for taking care of environmental hygiene:
- To ventilate rooms often, especially those with a higher flow of people, such as the workplace, apartment stairwell, etc.
- To clean frequently used surfaces at home or workplace on a daily basis, such as door handles, stair railings, electrical switches, remote controls, refrigerator handles, etc.

Recommendations for a close contact with a patient with coronavirus infection:
- To isolate for 14 days after the last day of exposure. In case of symptoms to contact the hotline 1808, report the circumstances (contact with the patient) and follow medical advice.

With increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the autumn, the Government is set to implement further restrictions, initially through recommendations, on cancellation of public events, switching to distance learning and working from home, limiting the number of people in workplaces and public spaces, etc, in municipalities with higher transmission (14) (15). See also section 1.2.

Sources:

1. CCD (27/02/2020) http://www.ulac.lt/naujienos/pranesimai-spaudai/apie-ranku-higiena 
2. CCD http://www.ulac.lt/uploads/downloads/rekomendacijos%20del%20ranku%20higienos.pdf 
3. MOH (24/03/2020) http://sam.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/grieztinami-higienos-reikalavimai-prekybos-vietose 
4. CCD (accessed 06/04/2020) http://www.ulac.lt/ligos/C/covid-19  
5. MOH (23/03/2020) http://sam.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/rekomenduojama-viesose-vietose-deveti-asmens-apsaugos-priemones 
6. MOH (10/04/2020) https://sam.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/nuo-penktadienio-viesose-vietose-deveti-apsaugine-kauke-privaloma
7. MOH (14/05/2020) https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/dengti-nosi-ir-veida-privaloma-tik-tam-tikrose-vietose
8. MOH (19/05/2020) https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/sam-primena-kad-kai-kur-veido-kaukes-vis-dar-yra-privalomos
9. MOH (25/05/2020) https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/atnaujintos-rekomendacijos-kaip-saugotis-nuo-koronaviruso-infekcijos
10. MOH (29/07/2020) https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/veido-kaukes-vel-bus-privalomos-parduotuvese-ir-paslaugu-teikimo-vietose 
11. MOH (21/08/2020) https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/nuo-siol-kaukiu-devejimas-privalomas-visose-viesojo-maitinimo-istaigose
12. LRV (05/10/2020) https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/sam-primena-izoliacijoje-esantys-rinkejai-gali-balsuoti-namuose 
13. LRV (28/09/2020) https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/sam-primena-kokias-prevencijos-priemones-gali-taikyti-pacios-savivaldybes 
14. LRV (09/10/2020) https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/atnaujinti-reikalavimai-renginiams-privaloma-registracija-atstumai-ir-specialios-vietos-valgymui
15. MOH (19/10/2020)  https://koronastop.lrv.lt/lt/naujienos/sia-savaite-covid-19-tyrimai-intensyviau-bus-vykdomi-19-oje-dideles-rizikos-savivaldybiu