Lithuanian parliament moves online amid virus spike

Lithuania's parliament held its first sitting online on Tuesday as part of efforts to curb a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, Reuters reported. The Baltic nation of 2.8m people had the highest rate of infections in the EU in the two weeks ending on Sunday, with 1,199 cases per 100,000 people, data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control showed.

Only parliamentary speaker Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen and her staff were physically present in the chamber, while lawmakers all connected to the proceedings via video chat from their offices elsewhere in the building or from home. "It was important, as members of parliament continued to fall ill, to create conditions for the parliament to continue working," said Cmilyte-Nielsen, who has had the virus herself.

Lawmakers were asked to identify themselves by entering a code on their mobile phone before each vote and to have their picture taken on their laptops immediately afterwards to confirm their identity. Four lawmakers out of 141 were ill with COVID-19 as of last week, one of them in hospital.

 

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