Community spread of Covid-19 has begun in Latvia

  • 2020-03-25
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Epidemiologists have not been able to trace several new Covid-19 cases back to travelers returning from abroad or residents who contracted the virus from these travelers, which means that community spread of Covid-19 has begun in Latvia.

Jurijs Perevoscikovs, head of the Infectious Disease Risk Analysis and Prevention Department at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told the media today that, for the first time, several patients said that they had not been abroad or in contact with a person infected with Covid-19.

Five such Covid-19 cases have been confirmed so far. All these residents live in Riga, but they have little in common, for instance, they do not work in the same profession. They include students and pensioners, and most took the tests at their own expense.

"There is evidence that community spread of Covid-19 is under way in Latvia. This information needs to be taken seriously. Now people can also get infected in public," Perevoscikovs emphasized.

It is important that people consider changing their habits in order to protect themselves and their loved ones, especially those with chronic illnesses and senior citizens, said Perevoscikovs.

The further development of the situation depends not only on the decisions being made, but also on everyone's actions in their day-to-day lives - social distancing is the most important, said Perevoscikovs, emphasizing that now people could get infected in buses and supermarkets, and other public places.

"We should not go where people are, and we must keep a distance of at least two meters from other people," said Perevoscikovs. Washing hands is also of crucial importance, and people must not touch their face with unwashed hands.

By today, twelve people have been hospitalized for Covid-19. None of them are in serious condition, Perevoscikovs also said.

The Health Ministry's chief infectious diseases specialist Uga Dumpis emphasizes that Latvia has already taken all the necessary precautions. "The number of patients is growing steadily, which means that the measures are working for the time being. There is no need to change the strategy," he said, emphasizing once more the importance of testing and social distancing.