President Levits urges people not to gather over holidays

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In concerns about the rapid spread of the Omicron strain of the Covid-19 virus, President of Latvia Egils Levits calls on residents to refrain from gathering over the holiday period, Latvian Television reported December 22.

In an interview on LTV, Levits said residents should be more cautious at the moment. In his view, formal restrictions might have to be imposed.

“I think there must be stricter rules for assembly,” Levits said, adding that his position is known in the government.

However, the government has done the opposite, allowing malls to work over the holidays and churches to be open for everyone, even those without Covid-19 certificates. “I don't support it. In any case, no one is forced to go to the big shopping centers or anywhere where it is technically possible to go. So I would recommend that [people] refrain from assembly anyway,” the president said.

He said that the Omicron type of the Covid-19 virus had changed the situation. It was estimated in November that Latvia will be able to cope with the variant of the virus Delta in winter and spring. However, due to the Omicron, there has to be more caution as it is more contagious.

In general, in assessing this year's work of the government and Saeima, the president said that the biggest mistake was that decisions on Covid-19 restrictions were delayed twice.

“We couldn't avoid them, but the consequences were more severe than if the decisions had been made earlier. We're risking the same thing right now. We want to celebrate Christmas and New Year, and then the restrictions. They will be certainly tougher and with more severe consequences,” Levits said.

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