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President, Prime Minister and Saeima Speaker line up to underline more anti-COVID action

Latvia's three senior public servants met at Rīga Castle November 30 to discuss the next moves in the battle against COVID-19.

Follwing their meeting President Egils Levits, Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece and Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš held a press conference in which Kariņš outlined changes to be expected at Tuesday's cabinet meeting, after brief statements of support from Levits and Mūrniece during which they testified as to the necessity of further anti-COVID measures.

President Levits said he expected "new concrete measures" and unanimity from government ministers when they meet, as well as "clear communication with people in plain language about what they can do and what they can't do."

His words were echoed by Mūrniece who said she understood that people were tired of restrictions but that as the situation is not improving, further measures are necessary. She too said she expected to see "solidarity" from government amid signs that opinions within the cabinet are divided on the precise approach to take.

It was then up to PM Kariņš to outline the main things to expect from Tuesday's goverment meeting which are likely to include an extension of the current state of emergency until January 11, bringing forward school Christmas holidays, the introduction of what he called "active border controls" and the even more widespread use of facemasks.

"The basic principle we are going for is two people, two meters. No visits, no visits," said Kariņš, developing the same theme he spoke about in a televised address Sunday night concerning maintaining maximum physical and social distancing.

He repeatedly referred to recent consultations with the World Health Organization, stressing that in their opinion the use of facemasks, plus even more widespread mass-testing are essential components of a counter-COVID strategy, though he went into little detail about how such things will be achieved. 

However, he did signal that the government was set to abandon some restrictions on retail outlets based on the size of their floorspace and would instead switch to rules designed to further regulate the number and flow of shoppers. 

Full details of the new rules will likely emerge from tomorrow's cabinet meeting.

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