New restrictions coming soon in Latvia, says Health Minister

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The Ministry of Health (VM) will soon offer the government a model of new safety measures in the fight against Covid-19 spread, Health Minister Daniels Pavļuts said in an interview on Latvian Television September 10.

Due to the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, hospitalized patients are increasingly entering the intensive care unit. Last season, they were 10-12% of all patients in hospitals but now the figure is 20%. There are also more patients who need additional oxygen: if previously they were 30%, currently they are almost 85%, the minister said.

The Ministry of Health forecasts that 500 Covid-19 patients will be treated in hospitals at the current Covid-19 rate at the end of September, 800 in early October. Hospitals will then have to start reprogramming and abandoning certain services.

Meanwhile, 1,500 Covid-19 patients in hospitals are the threshold after which “total overload” will occur in the healthcare system. Whether this limit will be exceeded in Latvia is unknown, said Pavļuts.

Pavļuts mentioned Lithuania, which has introduced a requirement for a Covid-19 certificate to receive different services. Latvian Ministry of Health also offers a similar model for discussion, and decisions on safety policy should be taken soon, Pavluts pointed out.

“At the discretion of the Ministry of Health, we should base it on safe services, "yellow zones", certificates and aim to minimize the limits of people who have vaccinated and recovered. And in those areas where it is not possible to check certificates, of course, it should be taken into account that there will be additional safety measures,” the Minister for Health said.

This week, ministries submit proposals for security measures, but later the responsible working group will work out a specific joint offer.

Asked about compulsory vaccination in certain professions, Pavluts said that similarly to the requirement in a number of professions to vaccinate against tick-borne encephalitis or hepatitis, VM will also offer to include vaccination against Covid-19. This would apply to social workers, teachers, health workers.

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