Lithuanian hospitals stop accepting non-urgent patients amid COVID-19 surge

FILE PHOTO: A Lithuanian border guard checks the health of a person crossing the Latvian-Lithuanian border, as travel restrictions for residents of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are lifted during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Salociai border crossing point, Lithuania May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Two of the three largest hospitals in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius stopped accepting non-urgent patients due to influx of COVID-19 cases, a hospital executive director said on Friday.

Several regional hospitals around Vilnius were also full, said Jolita Jakutiene, executive director of the city’s largest hospital, during a televised press conference.

Most of the COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated, and were above the age of 30, she added.

“The situation is critical. The COVID-19 patients numbers are rising every day”, the head of the city municipality’s health department, Viktorija Turauskyte, told Reuters.

Around 71% of Lithuanian adults have been fully vaccinated so far, close to European Union average of 74%, EU health figures showed.

The country has reported the worst infection numbers in the EU in the fortnight up to Sunday, with 864 new cases per 10,000 people.

It reported the third-worst mortality rate over the period, after Bulgaria and Romania, with 120 deaths per 10,000.

The government of neighbouring Latvia has cancelled most planned hospital operations from Monday due to an increased need for beds and staff as COVID-19 cases climb.

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