Health experts clarify COVID-19 basics

Take note – story published 3 years ago

Latvian Association of Physicians released a compilation of essential facts about COVID-19 and related actions October 29.

Last week, President Egils Levits said that the government and Health Ministry had good strategies and safety measures, but it was necessary to work towards making them understandable to the public. The Latvian Association of Physicians, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health's main infectologist, Uga Dumpis, have compiled the essentials for the public in order to protect themselves and others in the fight against COVID-19.

Incubation period and symptoms

The usual incubation period for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is 5-6 days, but may also be between two and 14 days. This means that between infection and the onset of the first symptoms of the disease, it usually takes 5 to 6 days.

In some people, symptoms of the disease appear on the third day, and in others only after 14 days. The tests may be positive 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms.

It is important to understand that some people do not experience symptoms at all, but they may still test positive (a form of asymptomatic disease). These people can infect others.

Recommendations on the basis of these data:

  • to start self-isolation following contact with a person infected with SARS-Cov-2;
  • best perform a test 5-6 days after contact;
  • if symptoms occur earlier, the test may be carried out on day 3 after contact with the infected person, but better to continue self-isolation and test 5 to 6 days after contact;
  • COVID-19 patients may stop quarantine after 14 days from the first day of symptoms. A control test for COVID-19 patients or asymptomatic persons should not be performed unless there are specific indications, such as preparation for surgery.
  • if a person has been identified by the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) as a contact, the person shall be subject to home quarantine for 14 days after the last contact with the confirmed COVID-19 patient.

During home quarantine, the person:

  • stays in their own or other place of residence and is available for communication and cooperation with a GP and other medical practitioners;
  • does not expose other persons to risk of infection, does not establish direct contact with other people (no guests, private visits, work, public spaces);
  • follows the instructions of the SPKC epidemiologist and doctor;
  • may only end quarantine with the permission of the physician.

Home quarantine may be discontinued earlier if a negative test result has been received, but not earlier than the 10th day of the quarantine (applies to persons who have not been infected after contact with a COVID-19 infected patient).

For COVID-19 patients, the workplace cannot request a control test. Such a requirement does not comply with Cabinet Regulation No. 360.


Isolation - mandatory separation of an infected person from healthy persons in the place of residence or medical treatment institution under the supervision of a medical practitioner for treatment, ensuring appropriate conditions to prevent the infection of healthy persons. A sick leave may be issued to a person regarding the period of isolation.

Home quarantine - separation of a person who has been in close contact with an infected person during the incubation period of COVID-19 infection at the place of residence under the supervision of a medical practitioner in order to perform medical surveillance of the person and to prevent the risk of infection to other persons. A sick leave may be issued to a person regarding the period of quarantine of the home.

Self-isolation - the separation of a person from other persons at the place of residence in order to prevent the risk of infection to other persons, if epidemiologically justified, that person has been present in conditions of increased risk of infection. A sick leave shall not be issued for the period of self-isolation.


❗️Mediķiem un sabiedrībai svarīga informācija cīņai ar COVID-19 ❗️Esi atbildīgs, izlasi līdz galam un rīkojies...

Posted by Latvijas Ārstu biedrība on Thursday, October 29, 2020

A summary in English of the latest COVID-19 situation including restrictions in place and rules on public assembly is available at this special government website. Use of nose and mouth coverings is compulsory in shops and many other public places.

The SPKC has information in English about the approved methods of protecting yourself from the virus.

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