Pavluts proposes to introduce lockdown in Latvia

  • 2021-10-18
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Health Minister Daniels Pavluts (For Development) at today's Crisis Management Meeting will propose lockdown measures in Latvia, immediately reducing people's contacts by at least 40 percent, LETA learned from the minister's spokeswoman Lasma Bindere.

According to data analyzed by the Health Ministry and specialists. contacts among people have reduced just by some 5-10 percent. Thus, the infection is still spreading and hospitals are treating already more than 1,100 Covid-19 patients.

According to scenarios modelled by scientists, if nothing is changed, oversaturation in hospitals, suspension of scheduled medical services will last for three months, taking health and lives of thousands of Covid-19 patients.

The health ministry will propose epidemiological safety measures based on the so-called D+ concept that has been developed by the Crisis Management Council already in March.

"The society should gather all strength and stop for a moment in order to stop the virus. More than ever, it is important to promote solidarity, responsibility and protect our health care system from collapse and the society from preventable deaths. We are on the edge - I call on people for understanding and mobilization," the minister said.

The proposal includes a ban on all sports, entertainment, culture (movies, theater, concert), amateur, catering, wellness, gathering, religious and other events in person. Work on site will be performed only in manufacturing, construction, critical infrastructure and to ensure uninterrupted public functions. According to the proposal, after autumn school holidays are over, three weeks will be held in distance learning, and no extracurricular activities are held in person. Meanwhile, preschools are still open for children whose parents cannot work from home.

Up to ten people from two households will be allowed to gather indoors and outdoors. Public transport may be filled up to 50 percent of their capacity, windows should be open, no far discounts may be applied, and FFP2 masks should be used.

Employees working on site should conduct regular health checkups and tests, working hours should be reduced to six hours, and curfew introduced from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. Also control of offenses should be increased. Non-essential travels should be restricted.

The vaccination pace should be increased, especially in risk groups. At the same time, short-term capacity of hospitals, including contemporary hospitals should be fostered.

"Vaccination should be ensured 24/7. Meanwhile, the new restrictions should be introduced immediately - on Wednesday. Every day is important. After three to four weeks the society will be able to gradually return to the present regime, starting from the vaccinated people, and in a couple of months - to normal life," said the minister.

Latvia is the first in the world by the increase of the Covid-19 incidence. During past week, the number of new Covid-19 cases has risen by 49 percent compared to a week ago. The two-week cumulative incidence has reached 1,266.4 per 100,000 population.

The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has doubled in the past two weeks. Today there are 1,114 Covid-19 patients in hospitals, including 133 patients in severe condition. The number of Covid-19 related deaths has risen by 48 percent over the week.

The Health Ministry said that at the present speed scenario, at the end of October there will be 4,000 new Covid-19 cases a day and 275 hospitalizations. In such a case, it will not be possible to provide the necessary medical treatment to everyone, and the number of Covid-19 related deaths will grow.