News from LT

Residents of Vilnius spend Saturday in the snow / Photo D. Umbrasas/LRT

COVID-19 Update

On January 11, Lithuania registered 775 new coronavirus infections and another 32 deaths from Covid-19. The number of new infections is usually lower at the beginning of the week due to lower volumes of testing over the weekends. However, Monday’s figure marked the first time the daily total dropped below 1,000 since November 16. In all, 160,446 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Lithuania since the pandemic began. About 64,642 people are still ill with the virus, while 92,608 have recovered. The coronavirus-related death toll now stands at 2,232. So far, 22,549 people in Lithuania have received their first coronavirus vaccine shots.

A total of 1,742,958 tests for Covid-19 have been carried out in the country, including 4,269 over the past 24 hours.

Railway Subsidiary in Ukraine

LTG Cargo, part of Lithuania’s state-owned railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (LTG), has established a subsidiary in Ukraine, according to the company’s press release. LTG Cargo Ukraine will first offer rolling stock rental, forwarding, and other freight transportation services as part of its expansion strategy. Egidijus Lazauskas, CEO of LTG Cargo said the new line of business is a planned strategic step in the international development in Eastern and Central Europe, aiming to expand the range of activities and increase competitiveness in the region. He also sees opportunities to contribute to the development of the railway and the Green Course in Ukraine, where the volume of transported freight is one of the largest in the region. In the long run, the company’s objective is to become an international freight carrier in Ukraine, where the annual volume of freight transported by rail reaches about 300 million tons – as much as six times more than in Lithuania. Last summer LTG Cargo established a subsidiary in Poland, LTG Cargo Polska, which, together with its partners, will develop freight transportation in Poland.

New Name for Georgia

Georgian flag

Lithuania has approved “Sakartvelas” (Sakartvelo) as its official name for Georgia, meaning that it has to be used in all official Lithuanian-language documents. The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language (VLKK) told BNS that on December 21 the decision was taken to remove the word “Gruzija” (Georgia) from its documents setting the official Lithuanian-language names of countries and replace it with “Sakartvelas”. Two years ago, the Lithuanian language watchdog approved “Sakartvelas” as an alternative name for “Gruzija”. A transition period was necessary to see if the public would accept the name, according to Commission chair Audrys Antanaitis, and it took root more quickly than expected. “Gruzija” remains an alternative name for the country and can also be used in the public domain. Georgian politicians and diplomats earlier asked Lithuanian officials to change the name, saying that “Gruzija” reflected the Russian name for the nation.

Waste Water Treatment Unsatisfactory

Lithuania is facing sanctions of several hundred million euros for its failure to comply with the EU directive on waste water treatment, according to Environment Minister Simonas Gentvilas, and 2021 will be key in implementing EU directives. The minister said that 38,500 residents were not connected to centralized wastewater networks as of July 2020.  The National Audit Office reports that Lithuania only treats 47% of wastewater, and the goal is to treat 95% of it in urban territories and residential agglomerations with more than 2,000 residents. Two upcoming dates are critical for the development of the wastewater infrastructure –March 1, when municipalities will have to prepare infrastructure development plans, and December 31, 2022 by which time Lithuania will have to meet the European Union requirements.

With news from and BNS