President says new restrictions, yet to be announced, are necessary

President Egils Levits met virtually with Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš December 16, with the coronavirus crisis clearly the main topic of conversation.

Levits noted "some problems in channeling [emergency financial] support to everyone who deserves it", but said the government is working to improve this task.

Other topics covered included the risk posed by domestic violence during the current situation, with the President urging the Ministry of Welfare in particular is called upon "to pay greater attention and create additional measures to prevent the increase in the risk of domestic violence."

Levits also referred, in slightly gnomic terms, to the necessity for the fresh restrictions due to be announced tomorrow, without actually giving any clear indication of what those measures are.

"We agreed that the message must be very clear tomorrow after the government meeting: what people need to do, what rules they need to follow, so that there is no room for disagreement or interpretation again," Levits said.

''With regard to certain increased restrictions, which the government will look at tomorrow separately, the number of people infected today proves that such increased measures are absolutely necessary. We all know that this wave of  the pandemic, which is washing over the whole world, was not created by Latvian politicians. We all have a shared responsibility as a society to ensure that the pandemic does not spread, that we do not infect each other. That is also the point of these restrictions! And that's the only point of these restrictions - don't spread COVID-19 infection!'' said the President.

"We can be sure that the situation will start to return to normal next year," he predicted, "but in the meantime we must be disciplined, conscientious, resilient and try to deal with this situation. The government is making every effort to make this happen."

Kariņš echoed his words, describing tackling the pandemic as "a joint task for all of us''. Again he used the phrase "quiet period" to characterise the consequences of whatever will be announced tomorrow, a three-week period starting on Monday during which people would be advised to stay at home as much as possible.

"It is clear that, as the President noted, the latest data about illness and unfortunately also about deaths is such that there is the necessity for even tighter restrictions," Kariņš said, indicating that the new restrictions will focus on reducing physical interactions between individuals to a minimum in order to provide as much assistance to medics as possible.

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