This Week in LT – November 2

V. Skaraičio / Fotobanko nuotr.

November 2 – Public Holiday in Lithuania

In August 2019, the parliament voted to make All Souls’ Day the 16th public holiday in Lithuania. November 1 had already been a public holiday, but lawmakers said celebrating Vėlinės – as the All Souls’ Day is known in Lithuania – was an old tradition that merited recognition. Having a second day off work would help avoid traffic congestions around the country’s cemeteries, as it is a widespread custom to visit and decorate the graves of loved ones with candles and flowers. As November 2 falls on a Monday, people in Lithuania had an extra day off.

Coronavirus Update

Lithuania’s health officials confirmed 1,001 new cases of COVID-19 on October 31 and 895 on November 1. Saturday’s figure was a new record-high in the country. Over the weekend, 576 new cases were registered in Vilnius County, 364 in Klaipėda County, 311 in Kaunas County, 202 in Šiauliai County. The majority of cases are linked to education and medical establishments, private companies, and public administration.

There has also been a growing number of infections linked to sports clubs, and several breakouts connected to bars Mililitrai, Materialistė, and Sanatorija in Vilnius and Taboo club in Kaunas.

The total number of infections has risen to 15,719. As of Sunday, 10,613 people still have the virus and 4,883 have recovered. Since the start of the pandemic, 166 people have died of COVID-19, while another 57 infected with the coronavirus have died of other causes. In total, 33,291 people are in isolation.

Amid worsening coronavirus situation in the country, Lithuania’s Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said on October 30 that a nationwide quarantine was possible. He also urged people to postpone visits to cemeteries over the long weekend. The health minister also noted that the epidemiological situation in the country was not improving, meaning that “Lithuania will undoubtedly be on the list of red countries according to its virus spread indicators”.

On Monday, November 2, Lithuania’s health officials confirmed 837 new cases of COVID-19.

Protesting Crimes Against Journalists

On the occasion of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI) a statement was issued on November 2 by the Chairs of the Groups of Friends on the Safety of Journalists and members of the Groups of Friends in Paris, New York, Geneva, Vienna (OSCE) and Strasbourg (CoE). The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, was established pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/163, commending the work of all journalists and media workers, online as well as offline, who daily risk their lives and health in the service of the general public. The statement expresses alarm and condemns the significant surge in attacks against journalists and media workers covering protests. It also underlines the importance of the role of journalists in upholding a free, independent, plural and diverse media, and have a crucial function in maintaining the integrity of democracy, rule of law and good governance by uncovering economic injustices and inequalities, human rights violations and abuses, environmental crimes, corruption, the decline of political freedoms, and growing authoritarianism. They also promote and demand respect for the right to exercise freedom of expression and are also pivotal in countering misinformation, disinformation, hate speech, racism and sexism. The list of co-signatories includes Canada.

With news from and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs