Latvian PM urges everyone to wear face masks in public places

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) wears a mask himself when going to the store and urges others to do so as well to protect those around them, as the war against the Covid-19 novel coronavirus is not yet won, according to the press conference after a meeting of the coalition council on April 27.

“Unfortunately this virus has not been defeated in the world, there is still not yet a vaccine nor even a medication that seriously treats it,”said Kariņš.

At the same time he admits there is a need to find a way to begin broader economic activity while learning to live cautiously with the virus. Restrictions will most likely be lifted gradually after May 12. However for people to widely use face masks they must be available, so the prime minister urges more production of protective masks.

“In a few countries it's even been made mandatory. I myself have been to several meetings wearing a face mask. If everyone has it, everyone is more protected,” said the prime minister.

A two mobile applications are also in the works - one that would monitor those in quarantine, and the other that would inform people when they're near someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. This would allow people to get tested in a timely manner and possibly avoid spreading the virus further. Kariņš compared it to the Waze app - if everyone has it, it's more effective. As for privacy concerns, he feels the sacrifice in privacy is worth it for the common good.

“The privacy or the right to anonymity, we have to look at it - if I can accidentally endanger someone else, so then I'm the threat myself, well I shouldn't have the right to not inform anyone,” said Kariņš.

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