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Statement of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania

Date

2020 03 12

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Dear people of Lithuania,

I address you as the entire world faces the pandemic challenge of the coronavirus.

The time has come for us to take immediate action. We cannot afford recklessness and irresponsibility.

We must unite and do what is required.

Each of us.

Only this way will we prevent the potential spread of the virus in our country. There is simply no other way.

I ask everyone to be responsible citizens and community members. We must take care of our own health, that of our children, parents, relatives, and all the people in Lithuania. I ask you to do what the doctors and specialists tell you to do. Let us not take risks.

I assure you: the Government and the authorities are making every effort to minimize the spread of coronavirus as much as possible.

Late response in other countries demonstrates that urgent action is needed.

We were the first to declare an emergency in the European Union, we took concrete actions and measures and we constantly aim at being at the forefront of the fight against the disease.

This has already reduced the risks and threats to our citizens. However, this is no longer enough today. We need to take new measures to reduce the danger.

Yes, some might call them restrictions, but they are not against people, business, or state, but against the virus.

We will have to learn to live differently in the coming weeks. I ask for your understanding.

Dear people,

Today, having received expert advice and guidance, we have made the following important decisions in Government:

All indoor sporting, cultural, leisure and entertainment events are banned as of tomorrow, 13 March, until 27 March.

Outdoor events with a maximum of 100 participants will only take place with maximum safety for participants ensured in terms of hygiene, distance and other requirements.

Attendance of cultural, leisure and sports facilities is also prohibited. The activities of such bodies shall be permitted to the extent it is possible to organise them online.

As of tomorrow, Friday, we recommend not taking children to educational institutions. If there is no possibility to stay at home with the children tomorrow, kindergartens and schools will be obliged to admit them and ensure a safe stay.

As of Monday, 16 March, suspension of education in kindergartens, schools and higher education establishments is compulsory. Schools shall take school holidays and shall ensure distance learning where necessary later on.

In the event of a need to stay at home with a young child and without a possibility of teleworking, one parent will be allowed to receive sick pay.

Direct flights to and transport connections with Italy will be discontinued as of tomorrow. Flights from Italy will be discontinued as of 16 March.

As the virus spreads, the same restrictions may apply to other countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will provide assistance to all wishing to return to Lithuania, especially for those coming back from the affected countries.

We strongly recommend not to travel abroad, especially to Italy, France, Germany, Spain, China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea, Singapore and Japan. If you have returned from those countries, you must stay at home for two weeks and notify the Public Health Centre of your return.

I trust that these measures will help prevent the spread of the disease. They shall be adopted on a provisional basis. However, if necessary, they will be continued and expanded.

I sincerely ask each of you: please be cautious and take care of your safety and that of your loved ones.

I appeal to employers, both in the private and public sectors, to take care of the self-isolation of the employees who have returned from the affected countries or had contacts with those affected. To the extent possible, allow remote working. Especially for those with young children.

If that is not possible, the State will provide guarantees for temporary incapacity for work, thus helping protect you and those around you.

If you or your family have returned from a trip abroad and you feel unwell, please do not rush to hospitals. Call 112 and report your condition. Medics and professionals will tell you what to do.

Let us not forget: Lithuania is safe as long as each of us cares about the safety of our own and that of our loved ones. Lithuania is safe as long as each of us is prudent. Let us wash our hands, keep our distance, and follow the doctors’ instructions.

Dear all,

The coronavirus causes us to slow down the pace of life. I understand the fears of the business community, I understand the fears of many citizens in business. I want to ensure you that the Government has already taken action to support Lithuania’s economy, small and medium-sized businesses and every employee.

The public finance system is fully prepared for the challenges ahead. We have accumulated reserves and funds that will be used as the situation demands.

I instructed the Minister of Finance, together with the companies in the financial sector, to take concrete measures to maintain liquidity for small and medium-sized enterprises. The law already provides for deferred tax payments. We will respond to a rapidly changing situation and, if necessary, seek additional measures and solutions.

We will pay particular attention to the protection of the labour force and its guarantees. Today, we have submitted to the Seimas additional measures on part-time and telework for employees, including those who have been notified about their redundancy, should such cases occur. We will ensure their smooth operation.

Dear people,

Today’s virus is a huge challenge that we will overcome. It is an opportunity to show that it is possible to stop it by the concerted efforts of all.

Thank you to everyone who helps and contributes. A special THANK YOU to the medics, officers, soldiers, volunteers and others who stand on the front lines of the fight against the virus.

Let us join those people. Let us help them with our responsibility.

There is no place for even the slightest risk here.

I assure you – we are ready and we all will overcome this challenge.

I wish peace and calm for all.