The number of COVID-19 cases is on the increase in Lithuania and the Government has introduced quarantine in many of the cities, therefore the Lithuanian Armed Forces once again puts into force the coronavirus preventive measures that have already been tested and proven effective in spring.
Continuous Initial Mandatory Military Service conscripts will not leave their service locations for the next two weeks in order to contribute to management of the situation in the country as efficiently as possible. Their leave conditions will be reviewed after two weeks in accordance with the currently used "traffic lights" division of municipalities into infection zones introduced by the Ministry of Health.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces will observe precautionary COVID-19 spread measures to ensure control of the risk in military units in order to protect career soldiers and Continuous Initial Mandatory Military Service conscripts, as well as active reserve personnel called in for exercises or training and volunteer soldiers as they complete their respective assignments.
Soldiers completing domestic support tasks have been given airway protective equipment , glasses, hand sanitizer, gloves; movement of vehicles and personnel between units have been curtailed to the most essential communication; access to military units have been restricted and control carried out (presenting declarations, conducting body temperature check upon entry); dining and health services are arranged to prevent queuing. Medical support units continue rendering free medical care, and also primary care services for Continuous Initial Mandatory Military Service conscripts.
Medical personnel and commanding officers have instructed unit personnel on additional hygiene for COVID-19 prevention: meticulous cleaning and ventilation of quarters, frequent hand washing, hand sanitizer points.
Infected soldiers are isolated and treated. The number of infections is assessed in every case individually and every units prepares to accommodate patients without or with mild symptoms. If possible, ill soldiers are treated within the unit, if not, they are taken to the Military Rehabilitation Centre in or another facility prepared for COVID-19 patients.
Units also have quarters prepared to quarantine suspected cases and treat soldiers with mild symptoms. Such soldiers receive every medical care and other necessities.
MD Jonas Basanavičius Military Medical Service (Kaunas) and the Military Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Druskininkai have prepared the capacity to quarantine over a hundred of soldiers with mild COVID-19 symptoms. If more serious symptoms or complications appeared, the patient would be taken to a civilian healthcare facility.
The situation in the country caused by the coronavirus pandemic does not alter the primary mission of the Armed Forces - preparedness for armed defence of the state. Therefore additional safety measures are introduced and the Lithuanian Armed Forces continues ensuring that military personnel fulfil their duties by training for national defence or by assisting other authorities fighting the pandemic.
Currently approx. 50 soldiers have been delegated to assist epidemiologists with the National Public Health Centre to carry out primary case tracing procedures (interview) and putting it into their databases. The Lithuanian Armed Forces deployed the Domestic Support Forces as a result of concern expressed by the President of Lithuania regarding the shortage of capability of the National Public Health Centre to grapple with the case tracing, the request presented by the National Public Health Centre, and the corresponding order issued by the Minister of National Defence.
PAO for the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Capt Andrius Dilda, +370 686 28035
Info credits: Lithuanian Armed Forces
Photo credits: Sgt Spc Ieva Budzeikaitė, Sgt Vidas Stašaitis, Cpl Michail Lysenko, Birutė Uhlan Battalion