RIGA - If the latest relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions results in an upsurge of coronavirus infections, the prime minister should demand a resignation of particular ministers, President Egils Levits said in a news conference following his weekly meeting with Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity).
The president also described the situation with decision-making in the government and the management of the Covid-19 crisis as unsatisfactory. In his opinion, it is unacceptable for ministers to act as lobbyists of their sectors. Levits stressed that the Cabinet of Ministers is an institution in charge of the state as a whole, not separate sectors.
"Each sector is pushing its own interests, for instance, in this case, the lifting of restrictions, with no regard of the consequences on the state," Levits said, commenting the most recent developments.
The president underlined that when deciding on easing Covid-19 restrictions it is necessary to take into consideration the epidemiological situation and the advice of experts, who have expressly warned that the loosening of the restrictions will lead to a major crisis of the health system.
"If such decisions are still taken based on some ministers' proposals, then if the infection rate surges, these ministers should take personal responsibility for that," Levits said.
As reported, the Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday endorsed the Economics Ministry's proposal to allow small shops with a floor space of up to 300 square meters to reopen as of next week.
Although the Health Ministry objected to easing restrictions on retail trade, several other ministers backed the Economics Ministry's proposal. Taking this into consideration, Health Minister Daniels Pavluts (For Development/For) indicated that this would be the least risky of the options proposed by the Economics Ministry for the resumption of retail trade.