Infectologist says face masks not strictly necessary at the moment

Although Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) urged Latvians to wear face masks in public places earlier this week, the low rate of infection doesn't mean such precautionary measures should be compulsory, according to infectologist Professor Uga Dumpis, of Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital, on April 29.

"As the epidemiological situation in Latvia is relatively good, we have few daily infection cases, public transport isn't overcrowded and the risk is comparatively low in stores. But this recommendation could change if the number of patients in Latvia increases,” said Dumpis.

According to the infectologist at the moment we should be more concerned about places of work where people aren't able to observe social distancing. Dumpis said people should wear face masks in public in countries that have a much higher infection rate than Latvia. Face masks could be necessary in Latvia only in situations where social distancing isn't possible. 

Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits (New Conservative Party) posted on Twitter that when restrictions are lifted and public transportation is once again overcrowded, face masks will be necessary.

As previously reported, the prime minister said he wears a mask himself when going to the store and urged others to do so as well to protect those around them, as the war against the Covid-19 novel coronavirus is not yet won.

Dumpis and other prominent medical experts have developed a high public profile and attracted widespread praise for their level-headed and realistic approach to the COVID-19 crisis thus far.

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