Health Minister: If COVID-19 rates go down, there will be no extra rules

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If Latvia's COVID-19 cumulative incidence rate goes down to 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, there will be no more extra restrictions introduced, Health Minister Ilze Viņķele told Latvian Television October 20.

She said that the restrictions imposed on sports and arts amateur groups would still be in force until November 4 but assembly limits are in force until the end of the year.

"Three weeks is the time period when the incidence either goes down and becomes stable or we look towards stricter regulations," said the Minister.

She pointed to the Czech Republic as an example that would not be at all desirable in Latvia: "On October 17, they had 8,712 new cases in a day. If we re-calculate, in Latvia that would be around 1,700 cases a day. If as much as 10% of the infected are hospitalized, it will be a catastrophe in the Latvian healthcare sector."

"We can see from the Czech Republic how fast the situation can become uncontrollable," said Viņķele.

She said that 250 beds in hospitals is the upper available limit without needing to seriously restructure the rest of the healthcare system.

The workload of the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) is already too high. Money alone will not be enough, she said.

"The real trouble starts when untraceable cases exceed 20%. The more people are sick, the smaller the chance everything is traceable," Viņķele said.

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