Latvia's President: Don't listen to the populists on coronavirus

Latvian state President Egils Levits took the unusual step on Sunday, October 25 of releasing a public address, urging the public to do the right thing to help put the brakes on an increasingly serious epidemiological situation.

In particular, President Levits appealed to rationality and called for the rejection of medically unsound populism which threatens to accelerate the spread of the disease and increase the number of casualities. 

"Every day brings new, alarming figures about the spread of the pandemic. These are not just statistics - behind them lie our fellow human beings," Levits began.

"Several European countries have already acknowledged that the spread of the pandemic has gone out of control. Therefore, we presently have no room for chaotic actions or overconfidence. Today, we must not listen to the populists. Their false messages threaten their fellow human beings and society as a whole," he continued, adding that "Our actions must be rational".

He urged a "decisive" mindset and said that additional restrictions on certain public activites were preferable to the prospect of sports stadiums converted into field hospitals. 

However, without directly criticizing government actions thus far, Levits also made it clear he expects a plan for the future "based on expert advice, not only on what to do today, but also what safety measures will be expected if the pandemic develops in one direction or another. This plan can always be supplemented and adjusted, but it will give us more clarity."

"Secondly, I expect an accurate conversation with the public. We need to know not only what we can and cannot do, but also why specific measures are necessary and proportionate and why others that seem logical are not necessary. Security measures must be explained clearly so that there is no uncertainty and no different interpretations," Levits urged, before signing off with another rallying call.

"We must all mobilize together to quell this pandemic wave. We did it in the spring, we will do it now," he concluded.

 

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