Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš: "Winter will not be an easy one"

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš made a special address to the nation on Latvian Television on the evening of November 29, appealing to the population to maintain discipline with regard to anti- COVID-19 measures and warning that tough times still lie ahead.

Looking tired and with a slightly hoarse voice, Kariņš said that while the first wave of coronavirus in the spring had not had as drastic an impact in Latvia as elsewhere, "this autumn the situation, unfortunately, is quite different."

"We should all understand that this winter will not be an easy one," he warned, adding that Latvia's 14-day infection rate had now passed Germany's.

"Germany's health system is very well funded... but our health system is on the edge," he warned, repeatedly emphasising that only via joint efforts involving both government and society at large could infection and death rates be controlled.

"The virus loves human contact, when we come together," he explained, urging people only to visit shops when strictly necessary, to avoid visiting each other and urging employers to allow as much distance working as possible.

Noting the deep impact the virus is making on the economy, Kariņš assured viewers that special payments to businesses and workers affected should start being made at the end of the week.

He also drew attention to the efforts of medics whom he described as "our fighters on the front line", suggesting that further financial resources would soon be provided to them, and indicated the likely extension of the current state of emergency which is due to expire December 6.

"We have to protect outselves until such a time as a vaccine arrives," the PM said, explaiing that the government was already working on vaccination plans but that until such a time as a vaccine becomes available, the strategy must be to maintain as much distance as possible between each other.

"This crisis is possibly the biggest crisis we have faced since the restoration of independence... I am confident that with government and society working together we will overcome this virus," Kariņš concluded, as "together we have tremendous strength."

 

 

 

 

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