Latvija in brief - 2011-01-27

  • 2011-01-27

The Saiema group of deputies from All For Latvia-For Fatherland And Freedom/LNNK (VL-TB/LNNK) has handed in a bill of amendments to the Citizenship Law to allow dual citizenship for Latvian citizens, reports LETA. VL-TB/LNNK points out that the amendment is to strengthen emigrant Latvians’ ties with Latvia - those who left Latvia in the wake of the Soviet occupation, as well their children, and those who have left the country after the restoration of independence. If the bill is endorsed in parliament, dual citizenship will become possible for citizens of Switzerland, Australia, Brazil, any European Union or NATO member state who wishes to restore his/her Latvian citizenship, or if a citizen of Latvia wishes to become a citizen of any of the said countries but at the same time remain a citizen of Latvia.  

Senior residents and people with chronic diseases in Latvia take too few pills when compared to, for instance, Estonians, which is why they often are hospitalized with complications, although hospital treatment is more expensive, Health Minister Juris Barzdins (Union of Greens and Farmers) said on Jan. 19, reports LETA. According to the minister, health care in Latvia receives 3.5 percent of GDP, and given this limited funding, Latvia still has “exceptionally good medicine.” The main goal of health care is to prolong life expectancy, stressed Barzdins. Attaining this goal though has little to do with increasing the funding for health care because “money disappears at large hospitals as if they were black holes - the money is used to buy expensive equipment that is used for treatment of only some of the illnesses,” he said.

Forty-five new cases of flu have been officially confirmed over the weekend, according to Latvian Infectious Diseases Center (LIDC), reports LETA. This year so far 464 cases of flu have been confirmed, among them 391 influenza A, and 73 influenza B cases. Last week, 384 cases of flu were confirmed, among them 163 influenza A and 34 influenza B cases, which is 141 cases more than the previous week. However, it is still too early to evaluate whether the epidemiological threshold of 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents has been reached yet. Health care experts urge residents to exercise caution and take preventive measures - eat more fresh fruit and vegetables with high vitamin and mineral content, drink herbal teas and avoid large gatherings of people.