Health Minister: next step could be gatherings of 200 people

As the epidemiological situation in Latvia changes for the better, the next step might be allowing outdoor events gathering up to 200 participants, Health Minister Ilze Vinkele (For Development/For) said at a news conference May 21, the LETA newswire reported. 

As far as outdoor events are concerned, the "step might be larger", but "we are not talking about thousands" of participants, the minister said. Discussions in the government are ongoing about the pace at which the maximum number of people allowed to gather outside might be gradually increased. 

The health minister indicated that neither epidemiologists nor infectious disease specialists support the idea to allow gatherings of several thousand people this summer. 

"Yes, the Estonian neighbors are changing the congregation rules faster, but it is the deliberate choice of the Latvian government to be more prudent," Vinkele said, adding that "it is the decision of each individual country" and that the Latvian government has chosen to relax Covid-19 restrictions more cautiously. 

Since there are no examples in the world Latvia could follow as it reopens after the Covid-19 crisis, the government has decided to take a more cautious approach, assessing options for easing restrictions on a four-week basis, the minister explained. 

As reported, the Health Ministry said Wednesday that if the epidemiological situation does not get worse, the maximum number of people allowed to gather for public and private indoor events might be increased from 25 to 50 people. 

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