This Week in LT – October 30

Vidmanto Balkūno ntr.

COVID Update October 27

Lithuania reported 950 new coronavirus infections on October 29, the highest daily increase so far, and six more deaths from COVID-19. Most of the cases, 350, were reported in Vilnius County, 152 in Kaunas County and 124 in Klaipėda County.

Infections were diagnosed in two government ministries: the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Finance, according to the National Public Health Centre (NVSC). In addition to schools and healthcare institutions, the infection is spreading in sports teams. Nineteen new cases were diagnosed among the players of Marijampolė Sūduva soccer club in western Lithuania. Eleven more infections were reported in Utena Juventus basketball club, north-east Lithuania.

This brings Lithuania’s total COVID-19 count to 13,088 positive cases. The country currently has 8,301 active coronavirus cases and 4,582 recoveries, the Health Ministry reported.

The coronavirus death toll stands at 150, and another 55 coronavirus-infected people have died of other causes. There are currently 28,756 people in isolation. 11,860 were tested on October 27.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda wants to set up an advisory council of health experts that will be involved in shaping the country’s policies to manage the coronavirus pandemic.

The new council will also help ensure a smooth handover of crisis management from the current government to the next.

Run-off Election Results

A total of 38.9% of eligible voters cast their ballots in the second round of parliamentary elections on October 25. The Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats have a total of 50 seats in Seimas, with 32 for the Farmers and Greens Union. Potential partners for the Conservatives are the Liberal Movement and Freedom Party with 13 and 11 seats respectively. Social Democrats are left with 13 members of parliament, the Labour Party has 10, and the Electoral Action of Poles – 2.

Most relevant for Lithuanians in the diaspora were election results for the newly established World Lithuanian constituency, where Freedom Movement representative Aušrinė Armonaitė won by a narrow margin (50.62% vs 49.38%) against Dalia Asanavičiūtė of the Homeland Union. The total number of eligible voters in this constituency was 44, 469, with a turnout of 26,140 (58.78%).

Of 381 Canadian Lithuanians who were eligible to vote, 21.26% (81 voters) sent in their votes by mail or voted at the Embassy. Further details in English and Lithuanian are available on the Electoral Commission‘s website

Mercury in the Baltic

A report by Lithuania’s Environmental Protection Agency (AAD) shows that chemical status of the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea in 2019 was not at an encouraging level. The concentration of pollutants did not exceed environmental quality norms in the water, but it did in bottom sediments and living organisms.

The concentration of six out of 60 substances analyzed exceeded the set environmental quality standards: mercury in living organisms, and petroleum hydrocarbons, nickel, cadmium, copper and zinc in bottom sediments, the agency said.

In the Baltic Sea, the average mercury concentration in cod, flounder, herring and mussels exceeded the norms by up to 1.2–2 times and by up to three times in individual cod samples.

With news from and