Latvian government may reintroduce state of emergency

It is time to consider whether a state of emergency should be declared once again in Latvia, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said November 2 after a meeting of the coalition Cooperation Council, reported LSM's Latvian language site.

As the situation with regard to the spread of COVID-19 in Latvia is not improving and the number of positive COVID-19 tests per day, plus the ratio of tests to positive results becomes ever more worrying, there may be a need to return to the state of emergency footing of the first wave of coronavirus, Kariņš said. 

"If the existing safety measures are not enough to reduce the number of cases, then we must move faster so as not to end up in a situation where healthcare does not cope [with the workload]," the Prime Minister said. 

According to the Prime Minister, Latvia should not find itself in the same situation as some other countries which have already seen their health services on the edge of collapse.

However, if an emergency situation is re-declared in Latvia at a government meeting on Tuesday, it would be followed by support measures for entrepreneurs, he said.

"We need to move ahead ahead, thinking about business and the economy as a whole," Kariņš said. He refrained from mentioning specific restrictive measures that would be introduced, but said they would be in line with the "red regime" of the four-stage emergency classification system, when there is a very high risk of COVID-19 spreading.

On Tuesday, November 3, a meeting of the Crisis Management Council is planned, where it is planned to hear the opinion of the Ministry of Health, as well as health care workers on the situation with the spread of Covid-19 in Latvia. The issue will then be discussed in cabinet the same day.

As previously reported by LSM, the first state of emergency this year ran from March 13 until June 10. Despite its dramatic sound, a state of emergency is a specific term that allows the government greater freedom of action and rapid response, particularly with regard to spending from reserve funds.

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