On September 13, Lithuania made it mandatory for its citizens to obtain national COVID-19 certificates in order to avail certain services. People who have recovered from COVID in the last 180 days, have tested negative for coronavirus, or have been fully vaccinated are eligible for the ‘Opportunity Pass,’ according to Xinhua news. It further stated that the Digital COVID Certificate issued by the European Union is also valid. People without such certifications will be prohibited from entering non-essential goods stores, major shopping malls, and marketplaces larger than 1,500 square metres. They would also be barred from beauty salons, gyms, and events with more than 500 attendees. People without national certificates, on the other hand, will still be permitted to visit stores and markets that offer food, veterinary products, animal feeds, pharmacies, as well as stores that sell vision correction products, orthopaedic products, fertilisers, seeds and plants, reported the media agency

It should be noted here that Lithuania began issuing the EU’s COVID pass on June 7. With more stringent regulations, the government intends to encourage higher immunisation rates in the country. According to the National Public Health Center (NPCH), Lithuania has reported as many as 42 coronavirus infections in educational institutions since the beginning of September, with around 90 per cent of them occurring in schools and the remaining 10 per cent in kindergartens. The new cases have been reported from almost all of Lithuania’s counties, with the counties of Siauliai, Kaunas, and Klaipeda reporting the highest numbers. Over 1,000 beds have been set aside in Lithuanian hospitals for serious Coronavirus cases, out of which, 850 of them are currently occupied, stated Lithuanian National Television and Radio (LRT) news.

Lithuanian hospitals increasing COVID dedicated beds

The situation is stressful but stable, according to the Santara Clinic in Vilnius, one of the country’s largest hospitals. It further stated that a number of beds have been dedicated for COVID-19 patients at the facility. Meanwhile, other hospitals in Vilnius and the surrounding area are also boosting the number of beds available for COVID patients. In southern Lithuania, Alytus Hospital added 10 new beds, and Druskininkai Hospital began accepting COVID patients. Infections and hospitalizations have been on the rise in Šiauliai, Lithuania’s fourth-largest city, for the past month. To deal with the surge of Coronavirus patients, the town’s major hospital has opted to halt non-essential scheduled surgeries, reported LRT news. According to the country’s health ministry, as of now, Lithuania has registered a total of 3.09 lakh COVID-19 cases with 4,711 deaths.

**By Anurag Roushan