"Yesterday (...) all members of the expert council unanimously agreed that the measure should be extended," Vaidotas Grigas, a member of the panel, told a news conference on Tuesday.

The recommendation reflects recent statistics showing that the daily number of new coronavirus cases has stopped falling and is even showing signs of rising, according to Grigas, who is director of the hospital in the eastern town of Moletai.

"This is certainly not a third wave (...), but this is worrying," he said.

Although the situation has significantly improved, the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations have stopped declining, Grigas noted.

It will be up to the Cabinet to decide for how long to keep the lockdown in place.

"Our proposal was not to limit it to a week," Grigas said. "We've left it to the government to decide. Our recommendation (is to extend it) for a longer period of time."

However, the recommendation to extend the lockdown will not prevent the government from further relaxing the restrictions, provided that it does so gradually, according to the expert.

The second lockdown, in place since November 7, was last extended until February 28.