Lithuania to tighten COVID-19 restrictions

VILNIUS, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Lithuania's new government has extended the existing nationwide COVID-19 lockdown till Jan. 31 and will tighten restrictions on movement till Jan. 3 in light of the spike in infections, local media reported on Monday.

From Wednesday, residents are permitted to leave home only for work, essential shopping, caring for the sick, seeking healthcare and attending funerals. Families are allowed to take walks in open spaces.

Social contacts are limited to one family or one household, and events involving more than one household are also banned.

All non-essential shops will have to close or switch to online service. Educational establishments will work remotely with some rare exceptions.

Lithuania introduced a second nationwide lockdown from Nov. 7 till Nov. 29 and later extended it until Dec. 31 due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.

According to the Ministry of Health, Lithuania has to date confirmed a total of 95,021 COVID-19 cases, with 825 deaths and 38,957 recoveries.

The country currently has the third highest infection rate in the European Union behind Croatia and Luxembourg, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Monday.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Dec. 8, there were 214 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 52 of them were in clinical trials.

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