Restrictions could be eased if Covid-19 incidence fell more than three times - health minister

  • 2021-01-19
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The government might consider easing current restrictions if Latvia's cumulative 14-day Covid-19 incidence fell more than three times, from the current 689 cases to around 200 cases per 100,000 population, Health Minister Daniels Pavluts (For Development/For) told journalists Tuesday.

"At this stage, we cannot afford to ease the safety measures and restrictions, but we can give people a clear signal with what incidence numbers their day-to-day lives would be back to normal," the health minister said. 

He said that the current approach to the revision of Covid-19 restrictions will be replaced with the "principle of traffic lights". The severity of restrictions will depend on Latvia's Covid-19 incidence, measured according to 4-tier system

At present, Latvia's Covid-19 incidence is consistent with tier 1, as its cumulative 14-day number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population is 689, while Europe's average incidence is 425 cases per 100,000 population. 

Tier 2 incidence would be achieved if the 14-day rate of infections fell to 200 cases per 100,000 population. At that stage, the Covid-19 restrictions could be gradually eased. Tier 3 incidence would mean that the infection risk is medium-high. The Health Ministry indicated that experts are still debating the epidemiological indicators of tier 3. 

Tier 4 would be reached if Latvia's cumulative 14-day number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population dropped to 20, which would allow lifting most of the current restrictions. 

As reported, the restrictions that have been imposed in Latvia to contain the spread of Covid-19 will remain in force until February 7, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told journalists Tuesday.

At a joint meeting on Tuesday, the government and the Crisis Management Council agreed in principle to leave the Covid-19 restrictions in place, but the government is expected to take the final decision on the restrictions at its meeting on Thursday, January 21.

Karins noted that Covid-19 incidence has started showing signs of stabilization this week but that the situation in hospitals still remains critical.

To contain the spread of Covid-19, a state of emergency has been declared and a number of restrictions introduced in Latvia from November 9 until February 7.