Latvia plans to do away with fabric masks

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The wearing of medical masks and FFP2 respirators in public places could be imposed as a mandatory requirement in two weeks' time, thereby waiving fabric masks, the government conceptually agreed on January 11.

The Director of State Chancery Jānis Citskovskis stated at the government meeting that Latvia had enough medical masks to provide all residents with them. However, the amount of FFP2 respirators is insufficient.

Citskovskis said the requirement for wearing medical or FFP2 masks could come into effect in two weeks, as it would be possible to distribute medical masks free of charge to poor and disadvantaged members of the public.

Meanwhile, there are currently no contracts for purchasing FFP2 respirators so it would be necessary to announce a new competition and to enter into a new contract for the purchase of respirators. Citskovskis added that the quickest scenario for this process could be a month and a half.

No mechanism has yet been developed on how medical masks would be distributed to the population, but the responsible authorities should resolve this issue within two weeks. Citskovskis said that masks could be distributed at pharmacies. At the same time, he acknowledged that municipalities have the possibility to organize their own tenders in order to provide disadvantaged people with masks, while the country could organize a procurement in parallel to build up FFP2 respirator stocks.


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