RIGA - In an effort to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further in Latvia, a state of emergency comes into force from today, setting a number of tough restrictions.
The state of emergency is in force from today till April 14 with the aim to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The Health Ministry has been put in charge of coordinating other institutions' efforts during the emergency.
During the state of emergency, government and municipal institutions have been instructed to consider providing their services remotely.
All educational institutions are being closed, and starting March 13, teaching will be organized remotely, except for centralized state exams.
Nursery schools are not being closed, but parents will be required to provide written statements assuring that their children and family members have not visited coronavirus-affected countries or territories, that they have not been in contact with Covid-19 patients or their contacts and the parents have no alternatives for looking after their children.
All extracurricular activities like sports training, competitions, rehearsals and shows will be cancelled.
All public events, meetings, processions and pickets with more than 200 participants are banned as of March 13.
Tourism services providers have been instructed to offer their clients to postpone or reschedule their trips to coronavirus-affected countries and territories. Those returning from these countries and territories are required to take special protective measures in accordance with recommendations available on the website of the Latvian Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Whenever possible, all holiday and business trips to the affected countries and territories should be cancelled and postponed and people should refrain from planning new trips to the coronavirus-affected countries and territories.
Persons with symptoms of respiratory infections should be prevented doing jobs that might pose potential risks to other people's health.
This persons' visits to health and social care institutions and correctional facilities will be restricted. The head of the Prison Administration is authorized to decide on restricting inmates' rights.
Individuals are being urged to refrain from foreign trips.
Persons and contacts returning from the coronavirus-affected countries and territories will be required to take special precautionary measures, which include monitoring one's health for 14 days after leaving the affected country by measuring body temperature twice a day.
People who develop symptoms of respiratory infections, like caught, cold, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, must immediately call the hotline 113. They must also go in self-isolation or home quarantine and cooperate with their family physicians and other medical personnel.
People must follow their health conditions.
People who have returned from the coronavirus-affected countries and territories are strongly prohibited from subjecting other members of society to infection risks. For that reason, it is necessary to reduce contacts to other people by not receiving guests, staying away from public spaces, institutions and not paying private visits.
These people are also urged to stay at home and away from work, public spaces and large public gatherings and well as avoid using public transport.
To buy food and other essential goods, these people should opt for making purchases online, and if possible, opt for contactless deliveries.
The people who are required to stay in self-isolation can also seek assistance from municipal social services, avoiding at the same time direct contacts with social workers.
If there are no other options, these people can go shopping, but they must wear medical masks, keep a 2 meter distance from other shoppers and observe hand and coughing hygiene.
The state of emergency also allows for introducing extra working hours for medical personnel but not more than 60 hours a week. The Health Ministry will request additional funding to pay for the medics' overtime work from the government's contingency funds.
The measures will be financed from the budget funds allocated to institutions in Latvia's 2020 budget, as well as from contingency funds on the basis of motivated requests. Decisions on such allocations will be made by the Cabinet of Ministers.