Government must stop dilly-dallying and make a decision on Covid-19 restrictions immediately - Levits

  • 2021-10-06
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The hesitation to make decisions is unacceptable, so the government must stop dilly-dallying and immediately take decisions related to Covid-19 restrictions, Latvian President Egils Levits told Latvian Television last night.

According to the President, the situation regarding Covid-19 is very serious at the moment, and in such circumstances, it is not acceptable to procrastinate in decision-making - it is necessary to act quickly, because every missed day brings the health care system closer to collapse.

"Every day brings us closer to disaster, because Covid-19 patients will not be able to get to the hospitals because they will be overcrowded. It is the joint responsibility of the whole government and a quick agreement must be reached," the President said.

Levits, however, welcomed the fact that the government has so far taken a number of decisions aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19, such as requiring certain professions to be vaccinated against Covid-19. According to the official, the scope of such an obligation could be extended to other professions.

"The first thing the government needs to do, but unfortunately too late, is to reduce the chances of people becoming infected. The second is to promote vaccination," the president said.

Levits admitted that the responsibility for delaying decisions lies with the entire government - not just the Minister of Health Daniel Pavluts (For Development).

"This dilly-dallying is detrimental to the whole government and society, so we must agree on quick and decisive action," Levits said.

In the opinion of the President, the Cabinet of Ministers should use the procedure for electing the Pope, when no one is allowed to leave the sitting until a decision is made.

"This dilly-dallying must stop and decisions must be made that are really effective," the President said, adding that effective solutions could include reviewing the availability of services depending on the fact of vaccination, reducing contacts, etc.

In Levits' view, the restrictions should primarily apply to the unvaccinated population, as this is also a matter of fairness, but in a certain situation the restrictions could also affect the vaccinated.

The President did not rule out the need to consider a lock-down in certain circumstances, but for the time being, in his opinion, this should not take place.

As reported, so far there is no political support to a decision to declare the state of emergency, according to the information at the disposal of LETA.

According to unofficial sources, the coalition has reached a political agreement that education institutions will remain open also if Covid-19 incidence rises steeply. On Thursday the government might agree to a proposal to pay senior citizens over 60 for vaccination. This would refer also to those senior citizens who already have received the vaccine.

Meanwhile, there is no political support to a decision to declare the state of emergency so far. The proposal was presented by Health Minister Daniels Pavluts (For Development/For), but several coalition member are against it.

In order to tackle the projected rise of the number of Covid-19 patients, the Health Ministry might be tasked to attract resources from private medical institutions, universities. Also, the National Armed Forces with field hospitals might be attracted.

In the future, the government will focus on activating the vaccination process, urging people to get Covid-19 shots.