Week in Lithuania: Covid-19 cases hit record highs, Lithuania blacklists Russian singers, IMF advises on taxes – Baltic News Network
The main news in Lithuania last week was an increase in new Covid-19 cases, the establishment of a Latvian subsidiary of Lithuanian energy company Ignitis Renewables and recommendations on taxes by the International Monetary Fund.
Lithuania makes isolation mandatory only for COVID contacts in family
Since Monday, January 24, self-isolation in Lithuania is only mandatory for people who have come into contact with family members infected with COVID. Meanwhile, people who had the most risky contact at work will no longer be required to self-isolate. In the first case, the isolation period will last seven days, regardless of vaccination status, because those vaccinated and those who have contracted the infection will have to isolate themselves. The only exception will apply to people who have recovered from COVID within the past 90 days after their case was confirmed by PCR or a positive laboratory antigen test, the health ministry said. Isolation time for people who have been in contact with an infected family member will begin on the day the infected person was tested. During this time, people who had COVID contact at work will be asked to undergo three antigen tests: immediately after learning of the contact, after 48 to 72 hours, and then after an additional 48 hours.
Lithuania blacklists Russian singers Korolyova and Sharipov
Lithuania added two more Russian singers to its persona non grata list on Monday (January 24th) because of their concerts in occupied Crimea. The Lithuanian Migration Department has placed Natasha Korolyova and Khabib Sharipov on the list of persons banned from entering Lithuania. They will not be able to do so before January 21, 2027. Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chairwoman of the Lithuanian parliamentary committee for national security and defence, and another member of the committee spoke to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week about of these artists. Sharipov’s concert in Vilnius, which was to take place last Sunday evening, has been cancelled. Previously, for the same reasons, Lithuania had also blacklisted Russian singers Oleg Gazmanov, Grigory Lepsveridze and Philip Kirkorov. The latter appealed the decision to the Lithuanian courts and ultimately lost the case.
Court upholds Italian innovation giant’s withdrawal from rail tender
Lithuania’s Court of Appeal announced on Monday (January 24th) that it had again upheld the decision of state-owned railway group Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG) to withdraw the Italian information and communication technology giant Almaviva to tender for the contract of an undisclosed value for the implementation of a digital infrastructure analysis system. On January 20, the court rejected an appeal filed by Almaviva, one of the bidders in the public procurement process, and upheld the decision of the Vilnius Regional Court handed down in November. The dispute arose after the Italian company failed to submit the technical documents correctly.
Kaunas launches European Capital of Culture Year
Lithuania’s second largest city, Kaunas, kicked off its Kaunas – European Capital of Culture year with the Uprising opening event, seeking to show Lithuania and the world the cultural potential of the city. In total, Kaunas, as the European Capital of Culture, will offer more than a thousand events, including more than 40 festivals, more than 60 exhibitions, more than 250 stage performances, including 50 premieres, as well as more than 250 gigs. More than 4,000 artists will participate in the program.
IMF issues tax recommendations to Lithuania
Lithuania’s economy will continue to grow strongly in the medium term, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said after its team concluded its virtual mission to the country on Tuesday (January 25th). It is important for the government to raise more tax revenue and broaden the tax base, including through property and environmental taxes, the fund said. Although inflation in Lithuania is expected to decline in the second half of the year, prices may rise in the short term, so the government will need to maintain financial and economic stability and ensure resilience to future shocks by gradually rebuilding fiscal reserves , according to the IMF.
Ignitis Renewables creates a Latvian subsidiary
Ignitis Renewables, a developer of renewable energy projects that is part of the Lithuanian public energy group Ignitis Grupe, announced on Tuesday (January 25th) the creation of a subsidiary in Latvia to facilitate its operations in this country. At the end of August, the group announced the acquisition of three wind farm projects in Latvia and preliminary plans to invest up to 200 million euros in them. The group says the three discovered farms of around 160 MW are in the early development stage, with commercial operation expected around 2025-2027.
Read also: Vilnius mayor calls for all restrictions to be lifted as ‘virus is everywhere’
The Cabinet supports the consolidation of national development agencies
On Wednesday 26 January, the Lithuanian government approved in principle a proposal to merge four public business finance agencies into a single body. A task force will be set up to draw up a consolidation plan by April, with the merger to be completed by the end of this year. According to Finance Minister Gintarė Skaistė, the four institutions are the INVEGA Credit Guarantee Agency, the National Investment Management Agency (VIVA), the Public Investment Development Agency (VIPA) and the Guarantee Fund for agricultural loans. They would be consolidated on the basis of INVEGA.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the decision of the EC to turn to the WTO
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Wednesday (January 26th) that he welcomed the European Commission’s decision to turn to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over what he calls China’s illegal economic pressure on Lithuania and the EU. His comment came after the EC announced earlier that it had launched a case against the People’s Republic of China at the WTO, formally requesting consultations.
Annual inflation in Lithuania hit 12.2% in January
Lithuania’s monthly Harmonized Consumer Price Index (HICP) rose to 1.8% in January, according to a provisional estimate released by the country’s statistics office on Friday, January 28. The annual EU harmonized inflation rate for December reached 12.2%, according to Statistics Lithuania mentioned. Year-on-year growth was mainly driven by higher prices for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as than transport goods and services.
Lithuania reports record 11,365 new COVID-19 cases, 12 deaths
The daily number of new coronavirus infections in Lithuania reached 11,365 on Thursday January 27, setting a new record for the third day in a row, according to official statistics for Friday January 28. Twelve people have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, of which 11 were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals rose by 40 to 1,212, including 97 cases in intensive care. Overall, around 651,000 people in Lithuania have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and the death toll has exceeded 7,800.