No easing of Covid rules for at least two more weeks in Latvia

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A cabinet meeting on Tuesday, April 27 decided, after lengthy debate, not to approve any further easing of current Covid-19 restrictions, with the decision to be reviewed again in two weeks' time. 

The decision was made based on the increase in the incidence of Covid-19 over the last three weeks.

According to the government's previous guidelines, easing restriction would be possible only if the 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population does not exceed 320. Currently the figure remains well over 400.

Vladislavs Vesperis, a representative of the expert group attached to the Operational Steering Group (OVG), said at the government meeting that any relaxing of current rules would significantly increase the risk of further increases in Covid-19 infection and that while Estonia and Lithuania were considering some loosening of the rules, their vaccination drives are significantly more advanced than Latvia's at present.

However, there are clear differences of opinion on the matter within government with some ministers from the New Conservative Party and KPV LV wanting to ease the restrictive measures.

Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits (New Conservative Party) stated: "As a post-socialist country, we impose strict restrictions on the one hand, and society pretends to comply with these restrictions. What we see from passenger transport is that the mobility of the population has been strong in recent weeks, increasing by 20%."

Interior Minister Sandis Ģirģens (KPV LV), for his part, said that the mood among the public was becoming more frustrated and aggressive. "I understand that we have a great responsibility, but we need to think about these aspects,” he told his colleagues.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) said after hearing the information provided by epidemiologists and other experts that the incidence of Covid-19 in Latvia continues to increase, and the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals is not decreasing.

On the recommendation of Education Minister Ilga Šuplinska (New Conservative Party) and Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (New Unity), the government decided that the existing restrictions would remain in force until May 11, with the cabinet due to reassess the situation closer to that date.


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