Government's strategy of gradually easing restrictions is not feasible in the current situation - expert

  • 2021-04-25
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The government's planned strategy of gradually easing restrictions and safety measures that have been introduced to reduce the spread of Covid-19 is not feasible in the current situation, such an opinion was expressed to LETA by the head of the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology at Riga Stradins University, Professor Girts Brigis.

The current situation is assessed by the professor as consistently stable when there is still a high level of infection. "If we consider that the line between high and very high infection rate is 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, then now it is twice as high," Brigis points out, adding that the infection rate has continued to increase throughout almost all of April.

In the professor's view, Latvian society, because the government had previously discussed a plan for gradual easing of restrictions, has not really noticed that the incidence is rising, which is also the reason why there are now many different requests from organizations and even ministries for the easing of restrictions.

The professor noted that often these calls to reduce restrictions are addressed to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, experts or the Ministry of Health. However, neither the experts nor the authorities decide on the introduction or relaxation of restrictions - the government does so on the basis of specific epidemiological indicators.

Brigis called on the public to look at these calls for relief in the light of the epidemiological situation.

Asked about the reasons for the increase in incidence, Brigis mentioned the Easter holidays, because the deterioration of the epidemiological situation coincides with this period, as well as the weather conditions. "The British virus strain, which is more contagious, also plays a role," the professor added.

The current number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals is relatively stable, in line with infection levels, but the professor emphasizes the fact that younger patients are currently being admitted to hospitals. According to Brigis, this could be related to the new British coronavirus strain. ''Such an observation coincides with that what is being expressed in scientific literature,'' Brigis added.

"Of course, the increase in incidence among children is a cause for concern. All this is exacerbated by the timing of exams - educational institutions are eager for face-to-face exams," the professor explained.