RIGA - It cannot be denied that government has made various mistakes in tackling the Covid-19 crisis, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told TV3 this morning.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the government is made up of elected politicians and that this is a reflection of society. He emphasized that there is no clear public opinion on the crisis - there are constant people who deny the pandemic or believe that no restrictions are needed. Therefore, the government is between the two polar opposites all the time, looking for the best solutions and trying to take all interests into account.
"It is a terrible challenge. I would lie if we said that we worked flawlessly, but I can say that at every moment we made decisions that were possible at the time and were considered the best," the head of government said.
Karins reiterated that vaccination was the main way to combat the pandemic. "There are two ways to fight the virus. One option is, and only China seems to be practicing it now - when one case occurs, the whole society is shut down. The rest of the world admits that there will be a certain prevalence of the virus, but is trying to protect people with vaccination, face masks, distancing, gathering restrictions, etc," the prime minister said, adding that the government will stick to such a strategy.
"Unfortunately, it has been proven that when vaccination becomes mandatory, only then many people get vaccinated. In other societies, such as Denmark, people were offered voluntary vaccination and everyone queued to get vaccinated - especially seniors. In Latvia we see that about half of the society was ready to volunteer to get vaccinated. but unfortunately the other party had to accept vaccination as an obligation. But this has worked," said the politician.
Karins said that if the prevalence of Covid-19 increased again and the situation significantly worsened, the government could consider following Austria's example in combating the virus.
"The Austrian version is also possible, we will see how the situation develops there. In Austria, unvaccinated people will be allowed to leave their homes only once a day, which is much stricter than it was with us during the lockdown. It may be worth considering, but I haven't heard any experts suggest this yet. We see different types of measures introduced this autumn and winter, and it has become more difficult for the unvaccinated, who are also more likely to get seriously ill and become hospitalized," said the prime minister.
Karins agrees that compliance with restrictions and safety measures is not being successfully controlled everywhere. According to him, this is especially true in public transportation, where not all people use face masks properly. At the same time, he stressed that the impression of the general situation often comes from a few posts on social networking platforms.
"It must be remembered that not all policies can be based solely on social networks. If I see one incident and write about it, it seems that it is completely everywhere. I have noticed that the situation is uneven," the politician said, emphasizing that face masks should be worn not to obey the law, but to protect oneself and others.
Asked about the possibility of starting vaccination of children against Covid-19 in Latvia, Karins pointed out that Latvian medical institutions are following the recommendations of the European Medicines Agency in this regard. He also emphasized that if the decision is positive, there will be a sufficient amount of vaccines in Latvia.