Health experts say Latvian society is not being responsible enough

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Restrictions in Latvia are minor, but even those are not complied with, Health Ministry's chief infectologist Uga Dumpis told Latvian Television November 5.

Dumpis was asked whether a state of emergency should be announced. He said that a state of emergency has already been reached in terms of epidemiological spreading of the disease. But if this decision reduces the number of COVID-19 patients, then that should be done.

“We see what happens in other countries. I think it [an official state of emergency] also makes one think and not be reckless. Although our numbers look modest on Europe's background, we are neither richer nor better equipped than others,” said Dumpis.

According to him, the government was not serious enough about external threats all summer - with flights continuing and borders open to a great extent.

“Europe has now also realized that this mobility, travel is one of the main culprits in this situation,” said Dumpis.

The infectologist also pointed out that the restrictions were relatively minor in Latvia previously, but even those were not sufficiently observed in society.

Liene Cipule, head of the Emergency Medical Service, agreed with this. In her opinion, members of the public are not prepared to take responsibility. For example, a person who has fallen ill but has not yet received a call from an epidemiologist [saying they are clear to do so], still goes to work.

"In our society, people are not prepared to take individual responsibility for individual issues. We are waiting for a call by an epidemiologist or GP, but we do not see that individual actions depend on ourselves," Cipule said.

She stressed that there were good results in Latvia in the spring because everything was closed, everyone was sitting at home. Only by drastic methods can the virus be contained, she said.

Elīna Dimiņa, spokeswoman for the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, explained that compared with spring, COVID-19 infected people have many more contacts. This means that the restrictions are not sufficiently respected.


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