15 July 2020, Wednesday, 14:34
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Vytis Jurkonis: Lithuania, EU Countries Cannot Trust Official Information On Coronavirus In Belarus

Vytis Jurkonis: Lithuania, EU Countries Cannot Trust Official Information On Coronavirus In Belarus

The EU borders with Belarus remain closed for now.

The Lithuanian government again decided to ease the quarantine, while extending it until June 16. The new milder quarantine package includes the permit for holding mass events, and the opening of borders with a number of states, a Charter97.org correspondent in Vilnius reports.

On May 27, the Lithuanian government decided to extend quarantine until June 16 inclusive, introducing a series of concessions. June 16 is a compromise. Prior to this, the possibility of extending quarantine until the end of June was considered.

With the extension of quarantine, a number of concessions were introduced in Lithuania. The work of cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs is extended for an hour - until 23.00. From June 1 to June 15, cultural and recreational sports events with spectators are allowed: in open spaces - no more than 300 spectators, in closed spaces - no more than 100 people. Since June 16, it will be allowed to gather up to 500 people at open space events, and up to 150 people - at the events in closed spaces.

Another relief concerns the restoration of international traffic. Since June 1, Lithuania will receive international flights from the countries of the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The criterion by which the ability to receive flights from one country or another will be decided is simple - in the countries the incidence of coronavirus over the past 14 calendar days should not exceed 25 cases per 100 thousand people. Every Monday, the Minister of Health of Lithuania will publish a list of “safe” countries - people arriving from there will not have to undergo compulsory 14-day isolation in Lithuania.

The first list has not yet been published, but Iceland, Slovenia, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Norway, Hungary, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Austria may preliminarily be included thereof.

Since May 15, Lithuania has opened borders with neighboring Latvia and Estonia - Estonians and Latvians arriving in Lithuania do not need to go through 14-day isolation. Partially, communication has been restored with Poland - Poles can come to Lithuania without going through isolation on the basis of work, study and family reunion.

The borders with Belarus so far remain closed - only Belarusians with residence permits in the country can come to Lithuania, they need to be self-isolated for 14 days.

A teacher at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University, Vytis Jurkonis, in the Delfi diena program said that Lithuania and EU countries cannot trust the information about the coronavirus coming from Belarus.

“Lukashenka says that he controls the situation, but these incidence rates show that this is far from the case. I think that now there is a huge risk of opening borders. The holiday season is coming, Belarusians would like to come to Vilnius to have a cup of coffee, go shopping. As the tourist season approaches, I think the flow should increase. This is a huge risk when the neighboring country does not control the virus,” said the political scientist.

Jurkonis added that Belarusians became hostages to the authorities, who from the very beginning did not take the pandemic seriously. According to the political scientist, the issue of opening borders with Belarus will be coordinated with all EU countries.