March 14, 2020 / 7:14 PM / 14 days ago

Lithuania to close border to foreigners

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania will close its borders to nearly all foreigners from early on Monday in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the government said on Saturday.

In a statement, it also said Lithuanian citizens were banned from leaving the country, except for business trips. The ban, which has exceptions for truck drivers, diplomats and people passing through the country on their way home, will be in force until March 30.

The government has also ordered the closure of all pubs, restaurants and shops except grocery stores during that period, and told nearly all public sector workers to work from home.

“The measures are indispensable. The consequences of not taking them would be more lethal, and more costly, than consequences of the constraints,” Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Saturday night.

The government will decide on measures to support business and stimulate economic activity on Monday, Finance Minister Vilius Sapoka said on Saturday evening, adding that parliament could be asked to raise the borrowing limit to fund measures.

Lithuania has confirmed 7 cases of coronavirus, with no deaths.

Reporting by Andrius Sytas, Editing by Catherine Evans

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