Coronavirus loves company, says epidemiologist

This week, an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases was observed, many related to entertainment and parties, said Elīna Dimiņa, head of the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) 's Division of Disease Surveillance and Immunization, at a remote government meeting on Friday, July 10.

The cumulative rate of the number of COVID-19 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in Latvia has increased to 2.8. A week ago, that figure was 0.7. 

This week, only six out of the 40 new cases of COVID-19 are definitely regarded as being imported from abroad. A certain trend of victims has been clearly identified: younger people who have visited public entertainment sites, pubs, restaurants, bars. The party lifestyle is what defines these cases, the SPKC spokeswoman said.

Three separate outbreaks have been identified this week. One of them was related to a private event by a company in public places. The other case involved visiting two entertainment sites in one evening. The third case was a self-organised trip of school graduates in several places over two evenings.

“These outbreaks make up a large number of the sick. It is worrying that the affected population could be larger, because young people are rather active in social contact,” said Dimina.

Although mostly infected people spread the disease to their friends and acquaintances, other visitors to these entertainment sites are at risk of getting sick.

In a statement to the media, the SPKC also indicated that epidemiological investigation showed that the requirements for two metres between visitors and three square meter area per visitor were poorly respected. Some restaurants and other catering sites are crowded, SPKC said.

This week the number of people who need to be in isolation in Latvia has also increased drastically. A week ago, around a thousand people had to self-isolate, but now the number has doubled.

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