Lithuanian health minister on isolation for arrivals in Latvia: let's wait until Friday

  • 2020-09-14
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Latvia is likely to add Lithuania to its coronavirus isolation list on Friday, but Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga says that Lithuania's infection rate may still change.  

"Latvians didn't agree on the 25-case threshold, which lead to the bursting of the Baltic (travel) bubble," Veryga told a news conference on Monday.

"We have to wait until Friday, because they'll look at this on Friday. A lot can happen in a week," he added.  

A 10 percent error margin could be applied under an earlier agreement between the countries, making it possible for Lithuanians to avoid the need to self-isolate on arrival in Latvia even if Lithuania's 14-day infection rate is above 16 cases per 100,000 people, the minister said.  

Talks with Latvia on possible adjustments to the threshold are ongoing, Veryga said. 

"Well, you can hardly call these talks, because it's the government that decides (...) if to raise that threshold," the minister said.   

"My guess is that as long as the situation in Latvia is what it is now, Latvians will apparently decide to stick to the same criteria and rules," he added. 

According to figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Lithuania's14-day coronavirus infection rate stood at 16.5 on Monday, well above 4.2 in Latvia. 

When asked about why the rates differ so much between Lithuania and Latvia, Veryga said there might be many reasons for this.

"It's difficult to answer. There are certain things that Latvians are doing differently than we do. They don't have such a population density, they don't have such events, they require a distance of two meters, and there are other measures that are perhaps more stringent, but this is already a matter of interpretation. I can't say that it's these measures that give the result," he said.

On Monday, Lithuania reported 51 new coronavirus cases for the past 24 hours, compared with just three in Latvia.