Discussions have taken place on sending aircraft to Italy to evacuate Latvian nationals - ambassador

  • 2020-03-11
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Discussions have taken place on sending a special aircraft to Italy to evacuate Latvian nationals, the Latvian Ambassador to Italy Solvita Aboltina told Latvian Radio today, but admitted that she does not know how far these talks have developed.

''As I understand, the ministry has organized a meeting with the responsible institutions on this matter, but I do not have any information on whether a specific decision has yet been made,'' she said.

The ambassador said that there are no legal obstacles in place for Latvian nationals to return home, but that finding transportation could be problematic. She said that train stations and airport in the country have not been completely shut-down, but that the number of flights and train departures have been considerably restricted. ''It is very difficult to plan how to get out of the country,'' she said. 

She also said that if some ''irresponsible'' persons were to travel to Italy at this time, their travels within the country would be severely hindered and would certainly encounter difficulties leaving the country.

Speaking about the situation in Rome, Aboltina said that there is enough food and toilet paper available. She said that store shelves are noticeably emptier, but that residents are heeding the advice of local authorities and staying inside.

The AFP news agency meanwhile reports that Italians braced for a second day of national lockdown Wednesday after a sharp spike in coronavirus-related deaths.

Europe's hardest-hit country said the death toll from the COVID-19 virus had risen Tuesday by a third to 631.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has told the 60 million residents of his country they should travel only for the most urgent work or health reasons.

As reported, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) has warned against all but essential travel to 21 more countries hit by the novel coronavirus Covid-19.

Writing on social networks, the foreign minister has called on people to carefully weigh the necessity to travel to the United States, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Egypt, France, Greece, Iraq, Iceland, Kuwait, the UK, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Germany and Sweden.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry already cautioned against trips to China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Iran and Italy.