RIGA - Latvia will gradually increase its sequencing capacity and use experimental technologies to identify the new UK Covid-19 variant, which will allow more rapid information on its spread in the country, Health Minister Daniels Pavluts (For Development) told reporters on Friday after a government meeting.
He acknowledged that the prevalence of Covid-19 in the country is still high and there is no reduction in the infection rate. "Unfortunately, apparently the current methods and safety measures no longer have the desired effect," the minister said.
According to him, one of the explanations for the current slowdown in the reduction of the infection rate in Latvia is the spread of the new strain.
"As in other countries, also in Latvia this new strain could replace the previous one, meaning that the structure of the virus will change. We are seeing more sick children and young people, and more sick people of working age. This, in turn, impacts the infection rate," commented the politician.
It is planned to double the sequencing capacity next week, but to triple it a week later.
"We will be able to test about 300 cases a week and see how this variant is spreading in Latvia. We know that this variant is already in Latvia. We know that it is in all regions Latvia, and we also know that that this variant is being spread locally," said the official.
As reported, so far, 20 cases of the new UK Covid-19 strain have been detected in Latvia, and it is already spreading locally, said the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).