Latvian government announces new anti-COVID message: "Home, Work, Fresh Air"

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Latvia's government announced further measures October 27 designed to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Ahead of back-to-back meetings of the Crisis Management Council and the Cabinet, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš had indicated that the main focus would be on learning from the experience of other countries so the virus does not win by discussing how to prevent hospital overcrowding and a knock-on crisis in healthcare, how to ramp up testing capacity and how to inform the public via clear and easy-to-understand policies.

Speaking to the press after the meetings, Kariņš praised a "very fruitful" series of discussions and repeatedly stressed that the government was working in a unified manner with unanimous support for its strategy from all ministers.

He also revealed a new slogan designed to encapsulate the future approach: "Home, Work, Fresh Air."


Testing capacity will be increased by up to 60% as soon as the end of this week, he said, allowing up to 8,000 tests to be performed daily. Currently the greatest number of tests that have been performed daily are around the 5,500 level.

"Our aim is to do all we can to ensure our children can continue their education and to do everything to ensure our economy continues to work," he said, adding that a working group under Finance Minister Jānis Reirs and including business representatives would attempt to address the financial complications of the pandemic and keep the economy functioning as far as possible.

The prime minister also said payments would be made to medical staff until the end of the year for their ongoing efforts on behalf of the public and urged people to make use of Latvia's wide open spaces for exercise and recreation while the weather remains relatively mild. 

Backing was given to the Health Ministry's strategy to tackle the virus and Health Minister Ilze Viņķele said she was confident that with the support of the public efforts to rein in the spread would prove successful.

A four-stage risk system will give the public a gauge of the current situation and the measures appropriate to it. Currently Latvia is in the third category, Kariņš said.  

Until November 15 at least, education will continue via distance learning for classes 7 to 12.

Private gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 persons and public gatherings to a maximum of 300.

As previously reported by LSM, the last two weeks have seen a dramatic rise in the numbers of positive tests for coronavirus being recorded and an increase in the number of deaths, too. Officials are keen that with Latvia having weathered the first wave of COVID-19 quite well during the spring and summer, the country does not succumb to the second wave more fully.

The charts below show current official statistics relating to the pandemic.



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