Hospitals might limit outpatient services in Latvia

The Ministry of Health is considering temporarily restricting scheduled outpatient health services to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 infection, Health Minister Ilze Viņķele told Latvian Television December 28.

Before Christmas, the government decided to suspend the provision of scheduled inpatient hospital assistance for two weeks. The Minister pointed out that it was not normal and could not continue for more than a month, but that the limit could be extended.

It could also be decided to suspend outpatient scheduled services, Vinkele said.

This is currently assessed by the Ministry of Health, but there is a “high probability” that the the government could decide on it on Tuesday, December 29.

The Minister said that it could also be decided to extend the possibility of applying for COVID-19 tests without referral. Currently, this option is set to expire on January 3.

Government's operational management team has been discussing the possibility of imposing even stricter restrictions, but Viņķele pointed out that the limits are already strict enough and that there is not much room to limit anything more strictly. She said that there was no point in introducing something that could not be controlled.

She said that it was better to impose what can be easily checked, but everything depends on people themselves, as "not everyone can have a police officer standing next to them".

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