Hospitals cut services bracing for patient influx

Most of Latvia's hospitals have reduced or stopped scheduled and outpatient treatment, said Health Minister Ilze Viņķele March 17 following a cabinet meeting.

The minister said critical operations haven't been cancelled, and patients will be able to receive remote consultations for free.

According to Viņķele, it is currently crucial to prepare hospitals for a possible influx of Covid-19 patients and to prevent medical personnel from contracting diseases.

The new arrangement applies first of all to university hospitals in Latvia but other hospitals are making decisions over emergency measures as well.

Outpatient treatment has been stopped at the Children's Clinical University Hospital from March 18 to 14. Scheduled visits have been cut to the minimum with oncology and rheumatoid patients still to receive treatment. 

Emergency services are being provided as usual.

The number of Covid-19 patients in Latvia stands at 60 as of March 17, but the government insists all the patients had returned from a stay abroad and that no cases of local transmission have been discovered. 

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