News from Lithuania – November 23

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Coronavirus Update

As of November 23, Lithuania recorded 1,192 new cases of Covid-19 and six deaths from the virus. The total death toll from COVID-19 has reached 392. A total of 48,226 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Lithuania since the pandemic began. Some 36,644 people are still ill with the virus and 11,032 have recovered. The densest clusters have been recorded in social care homes, as well as medical and educational institutions. A new breakout has also been registered at the Šatrija sewing company in Raseiniai, where eight workers have become infected.

Among the new cases 120 are linked to breakouts in households, about 1,629 people ill with the virus are hospitalized, including 126 who are in intensive care. Since June 1,

519 registered cases were contracted abroad. In all, 1,267,700 tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in Lithuania so far, including 4,427 over the 24 hours preceding this report.

They’re Everywhere!

About 40 people staged an anti-quarantine rally in Vilnius on Saturday, November 21, protesting “excessive restrictions” imposed by the government due to the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, the protesters objected to the mandatory wearing of facemasks outdoors. As part of the quarantine rules introduced on November 7, people are required to wear facemasks in all public places. Restrictions also include a ban on congregating in groups of more than five people, except when they are from the same household.

Vilnius County Police said that Saturday’s rally was attended by some 40 people. Two people were stopped by police: one man for refusing to wear a facemask, while the other one for wearing a theatrical mask that covered his entire face, a violation of the law on public gatherings. The latter is well-known Lithuanian comedian Olegas Šurajevas who came to mock the rally participants. A group of people also turned up to stage a counter-rally, insisting on the use of facemasks. The organizers of the anti-mask protest had informed the Vilnius Municipality that up to 15 people would attend the event. In addition to masks, they said they opposed the development of 5G network.

Parliament Thanks John Shimkus

In a resolution adopted unanimously on November 23, the Lithuanian parliament expressed gratitude to the long-standing US congressman John Shimkus. Lithuanian MP Emanuelis Zingeris of the conservative Homeland Union (TS-LKD) presented the resolutions, saying it was put forward in appreciation of his contribution to the freedom cause of the Baltic states, and his steady 23-year-long concern for Lithuania’s security. Shimkus, a Republican, announced earlier that he would not seek reelection after his six-term tenure in the US House of Representatives. The document was adopted unanimously by 122 votes in favour. The resolution had been initiated by a group of more than 20 lawmakers representing different political groups.

Zingeris said Shimkus, who is of Lithuanian descent, “was a long-standing Head of the House Baltic Caucus who has been one of the most active congressmen in persuading the US Congress to liberalise trade in liquefied natural gas and approve NATO’s defence plans for the Baltic states”. Shimkus was also active in advocating in the US Congress for countering “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine” and “fighting against the Kremlin’s hostile propaganda”.

Permits for Belarusians

As of November 23, permits have been issued to 653 Belarusians for entry to Lithuania on humanitarian grounds. 246 citizens of Belarus are already in Lithuania, and 53 requested asylum. Minister of Interior Affairs Rita Tamšunienė noted that the protests in Belarus have continued for four months, and the number of people hoping to escape repressions is growing. Lithuania is committed to making it easier for them to enter the country safely. Admission of Belarusian citizens on humanitarian grounds has been allowed since August 11, 2020.

With news from LRT.lt and alkas.lt