Health Minister says emergency will be at least two weeks longer

The state of emergency will have to be extended by at least 2-3 weeks, and restrictions will have to be tightened at national level, Health Minister Ilze Viņķele said in an interview on Latvian Radio November 30.

The Minister recalled that she had previously warned against extending the emergency and the need to reinforce restrictions.

Now, in the frenzy of “Black Friday” shopping, there was disregard of 10 square meters of space per buyer, no control, while Facebook was full of advertisements for beauty services, although their provision in the country has been banned since November 9. Restrictions without control unfortunately do not hit the target, the Minister said. 

She said that in future, when deciding on the restrictions, it is necessary to demonstrate preparedness and inform the public how these restrictions will be monitored, but at the same time to explain what compensatory mechanisms will be.

For example, the beauty sector is prohibited from working, “but people have no clarity on how they will live because there is no compensatory mechanism”, the minister said, noting that without compensatory measures “action moves underground”.

The Minister acknowledged that the emergency will have to be extended by 2-3 weeks and that Christmas will be quiet, and visits and gatherings will be limited.

National restrictions on assembly and sporting events, switching grades 5-6 to learning remotely, and limiting store fill to 20% of the premises will also be discussed.

The Minister also said that the Health Ministry would suggest raising medical workers' bonus from the existing 20%-50% from their salary to 100%.

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