Latvia's Covid-19 control measures are working, says top official

At the moment, the state emergency measures implemented to restrict the spread of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus seem to have been effective in preventing a spike in cases, but the situation could still change and require additional restrictive measures, according to Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital Department of Infection Control and Surveillance Director, Professor Uga Dumpis on March 30.

The increase in numbers of infected persons was inescapable, he suggested, as thousands of people were repatriated to Latvia two weeks ago. A majority of the cases have been specifically those who returned from abroad, as well as their family, friends and colleagues.

“That other people have been infected and cases have appeared where there is no connection to other patients is worrying, but the number of these cases is still very low,” said Dumpis.

According to the professor, now that there are far fewer people coming in from abroad, including fewer infected people, we're going to finally see the real numbers regarding what's happening on the ground in Latvia. The fact that we've seen a steady level of infected cases means that “the infection is somewhat controlled,” and that emergency measures are containing the infection, said Dumpis.

The infectologist currently doesn't support additional restrictive measures, saying that instead we need to learn to live with the current emergency measures. He cited Hong Kong as an example where the virus reappeared once restrictions were lifted too soon.

“We have to keep in mind that completely sitting at home, restrictions on going outside and working, this can lead to serious psychosocial consequences and exacerbates other illnesses,” said Dumpis.

He explained that the goal is to get the majority of society to follow the restrictions, so as to to contain the spread of the disease. Stress can be one of the contributing factors to a weakened immune system, so hopefully the infectologist's words can help some of us stress a little less about the situation surrounding the pandemic.

Dumpis himself has been one of the most prominent public faces of the coronavirus crisis and has won widespread praise for his clear advice and down-to-earth attitude predicting the likely course of the epidemic and the suitable responses at each stage.

In the process he has also won a legion of new followers on social media.

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