Before the death was officially confirmed, Health Minister Ilze Viņķele appealed to media to respect the privacy of the victim's family, who are to be the first to be informed of the fatality, prioritising that over the desire to be first with a journalistic scoop.
"The Health Ministry didn't and won't hide anything. We just want to be sure we inform the [victim's] nearest and dearest first," Viņķele said.
Cilvēcisks lūgums medijiem. Īpaši šajā laikā. Piedomāt, kā balansēt ziņu (un sacensību būt pirmajam avotam), profesionālo pienākumu informēt un empātiju. Īpaši ziņojot par nāvi.@veselibasmin neko neslēpa un neslēps. Mēs tikai vēlamies būt droši, ka tuvinieki uzzina pirmie.— Ilze Viņķele (@Vinkele) April 3, 2020
A short while later, the Health Ministry officially confirmed the death, saying the victim was a 99-year-old woman who had been undergoing treatment since March 27 and that her death was not directly from COVID-19 infection but resulted from underlying chronic conditions while she had the virus, a pattern which has become a feature of the disease in older patients worldwide.
❗️ Veselības ministrija apstiprina, ka šodien, 3. aprīlī, Latvijā miris pirmais pacients, kuram diagnosticēta COVID-19 saslimšana. Paciente bija 99 gadus veca sieviete, kura kopš 27. marta ārstējās Latvijas Infektoloģijas centrā. Plašāk: https://t.co/p6yVXN63lB pic.twitter.com/2InTBR3MtW— Veselības ministrija (@veselibasmin) April 3, 2020
"For the first three days, the patient was treated in an intensive care unit. As the condition stabilized, the patient was transferred to the ward for further treatment. The cause of the patient's death was not Covid-19 infection but other chronic conditions," the Health Ministry said.
COVID-19 was detected in Latvia for the first time on March 2, 2020.
By April 3, the number of patients with Covid-19 in Latvia had reached 493, three of whom were reportedly in a serious condition in hospital.
The SPKC updated its graphics tracking the progress of the disease later on Friday.
You can read [in English] the current emergency regulations introduced by the government to tackle the spread of coronavirus at the government website. As reported by LSM earlier, the regulations were further extended following a government meeting March 29, enforcing a two-person, two-meter rule for physical social interactions. The relevant section of the regulations can be read in English in our earlier story.
There is also a dedicated official COVID-19 website with a variety of relevant information and contacts available in Latvian and Russian.
The SPKC has information in English about the approved methods of protecting yourself from the disease, symptoms and medical procedures and an interactive map plotting the incidence and distribution of the disease in Latvia.