Lithuania eases Covid-19 restrictions to usher in international tourists

 Saturday, February 19, 2022 

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Lithuania has lifted its COVID-19 restrictions for all EU/EEA countries and continues to ease them for other countries. From February 15, all visitors from EU/EEA and some of the non-EU countries—such as Israel, the U.S., Sakartvelo, Ukraine, and others—will no longer be required to provide a vaccine certificate, documentation of recovery, or a negative COVID-19 test when entering Lithuania.


Starting from March 31, visitors from other countries will be still required to present a vaccination certificate, documentation of recovery, or a negative COVID-19 test, however, they will not need to undergo additional testing or self-isolate. Furthermore, those immunized by Nuvaxovid (Novavax) and Covishield (AstraZeneca) vaccines can already enter the country.


This decision taken by the Lithuanian government follows the recommendations of the World Health Organisation to lift or ease travel restrictions, as pro-longed strict COVID-19 measures can potentially cause economic and social harm. After implementing these changes, Lithuania remains one of the most open European countries regarding international travel.


“Lithuania is one of the first countries in the region to quickly and flexibly respond to the changing nature of the virus. The lifted restrictions send a positive message to the entire Lithuanian tourism sector, which has been affected by the pandemic,” said AušrinėArmonaitė, Lithuania’s Minister of the Economy and Innovation. “Previous restrictions would no longer serve the same purpose, and would only have a negative impact on the economy, seeing that the current strain of virus is considered milder. This is also good news for tourists and Lithuanians living abroad since both groups will now find it easier to come to Lithuania.”


Before the pandemic, almost 2 million tourists visited the country in 2019. With over €977.8M spent by visitors that year, tourism became a significant part of the country’s economy. It is expected that the lifted restrictions will drive the country’s tourism businesses towards a faster recovery as entering Lithuania from EU/EEA countries now will be no different from the regulations valid in the pre-pandemic period.


Most tourist attractions are now open in Lithuania and allow visitors to explore the country with minimal safety limitations such as wearing medical masks in public indoor spaces and FFP2 grade respirators during indoor events.

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has welcomed the call of its sister UN agency World Health Organization (WHO) for restrictions on travel to be lifted or eased.


Citing the varied global responses to the emergence of the of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, WHO has reiterated that restrictions on travel are not effective in suppressing the international spread. In line with UNWTO’s recurring warning against the use of blanket restrictions, the 10th meeting of the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee (Geneva, 19 January) expressed concern that such measures can cause economic and social harm. They may also “discourage transparent and rapid reporting of emerging Variants of Concern”, the WHO added.


The Committee also noted that measures applied to international travellers such as testing, isolation and quarantine, and vaccinations, should be based on “risk assessments and avoid placing the financial burden on international travellers in accordance with Article 40 of the IHR”.


UNWTO Secretary-General ZurabPololikashvili says: “When it comes to stopping the spread of new virus variants, blanket travel restrictions are simply counterproductive. In fact, by cutting the lifeline of tourism, these restrictions do more harm than good, especially in destinations reliant on international tourists for jobs, economic wellbeing and sustainable change.”


The United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects Report for 2022 – to which UNWTO provided the official travel related data – has noted that in both developed and developing, recovery from the impacts of the pandemic is “uneven and fragile”. It also highlights the “substantial reversal in progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


“It is imperative we restart tourism and so kickstart recovery and get back on track towards meeting the SDGs while responding to Climate Imperatives,” Mr Pololikashvili adds. “UNWTO welcomes WHO’s new guidance, highlighting the ineffectiveness of blanket travel restrictions, and we also amplify their recommendations against using vaccination status as the sole condition for welcoming tourists back, especially when vaccination rates remain so uneven.”

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