RIGA - Given the continuing spread of Covid-19, residents must adhere to the established restrictions when assessing the need to go to parties and meet people who have returned from abroad, the Chief Infectologist of the Ministry of Health Uga Dumpis told LETA.
According to him, the main risk factor for the spread of the virus is still its "import" from abroad. The risk is also posed by entertainment activities, parties and visiting bars, which "is happening in full swing in Latvia", the specialist explained.
"This is the main combination of risks. The situation may also be exacerbated by the easing of assembly restrictions, but this was foreseeable," Dumpis added.
Given the number of new Covid-19 cases in Latvia in recent days, it is too early to talk about introducing new restrictions, as it is now important to responsibly follow at least the restrictions and recommendations that are already in place, which Dumpis says people are reluctant to do.
"However, the outbreak illustrates the typical situation associated with parties and restaurant visits. It is also in line with the situation in the Balkans, where the victory over Covid-19 was announced prematurely," Dumpis said.
"Citizens need to understand that there is a risk of being infected with Covid-19 when going to parties and entertainment venues, as the virus has not receded and continues to spread," the expert warned, stressing that people often do not understand seemingly simple things - the fact that you do not have to hug and shake hands with the people you meet.
Dumpis said that the increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases in recent days does not indicate a critical situation, however, when assessing, for example, the experience of Balkan countries, it must be understood that non-compliance with restrictions and precautions may lead to an increased spread of the virus in Latvia.
''If we look at Croatia, Serbia, where there are now once again over 100 new cases per day, we must realize that this can happen to us if we do not react appropriately. The key is not to add restrictions, but to respect the existing ones, because they are still in force and they really work. People should think twice about going to parties, or meeting with those who have arrived from abroad," explained the specialist.
Dumpis also explained that the current threshold of cases per 100,000 inhabitants for free travel between countries is not optimal for Latvia. "This is a political and economic compromise. For us, this threshold would mean big numbers. If we had 15 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, we would be very worried," Dumpis said.
Assessing how Latvians observed the restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19 during the recent Midsummer holidays, Dumpis concluded that in general people have not ''behaved very well" at all, however, the current outbreaks are not related to the holidays.
As reported, seven new Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Latvia for a second consecutive day after testing 1,773 people over the past 24 hours, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control informed today.
According to information obtained by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, two of the new coronavirus cases might be linked to the already reported transmissions in a group of acquaintances who had visited several public places in Riga, including the Aqua Luna restaurant on June 27.
The Center for Disease Prevention and Control indicated that two other people who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 said they had been to the Aqua Luna, but their connection with said outbreak is still being probed.
The total number of Covid-19 tests has thus risen to 162,054 and the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has grown to 1,141. The coronavirus disease has claimed the lives of 30 people and 1,008 people have recovered from Covid-19.