Testing before entry into country more effective than entry ban on unvaccinated - CDC

  • 2021-12-29
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - From the epidemiological viewpoint, testing travelers for Covid-19 before they enter a country is more effective than a complete entry ban on unvaccinated travelers, LETA was told at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior said on Tuesday that in order to contain the spread of the omicron variant, Finland has decided to deny entry to foreigners that are not vaccinated against Covid-19. To enter Finland, travelers will be required to present a recent negative Covid-19 test and proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. 

Asked if Latvia should follow Finland's example, CDC representatives indicated that from the epidemiological standpoint, testing travelers for Covid-19 before they enter a country, or at least shortly after the entry, is more effective than a complete entry ban on unvaccinated travelers.

Citing Latvia's incidence data, the CDC representatives argued that when it comes to omicron, the virus infects both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, which is why testing is a more effective preventive method, which should be applied to both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, as well as those who have had Covid-19 before. 

As reported, Latvia has so far recorded 211 laboratory confirmed cases of the SARS-CoC-2 omicron variant, CDC representative Ilze Araja informed LETA.

Of these omicron infections, 122 were imported cases and 78 were local cases of which 34 were secondary transmissions with known contacts. Meanwhile, the source of 42 cases could not be traced down.

Of the 211 confirmed omicron cases 13 are still under epidemiological investigation, Araja said.

There are also 21 suspected omicron cases that have yet to be confirmed, the CDC representative said.

She also noted that 75 percent of 211 omicron patients were fully vaccinated, with many of these cases detected by testing air passengers arriving in Latvia from countries with high omicron incidence.