Number of coronavirus cases in Latvia climbs to 16

The latest update on confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in Latvia was published March 12, with the number rising from 10 to 16.

The Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) said in its morning update that of 41 tests carried out during the last 24 hours, 6 were positive.

In total 332 tests have been carried out since February 29, with 16 positive results.

Initially, the SPKC added that all cases of COVID-19 infection in Latvia have been brought into the country by travelers returning from countries affected by the new coronavirus. In total, more than 200 persons have been placed in quarantine in Latvia under the supervision of a family doctor.

However, SPKC specialist Uga Dumpis later reported that one of the new cases had been caused by transmission from one person to another within Latvia itself. LTV reported that the infection had been passed on from a traveller returning from Switzerland.

"Yesterday differs from today in the fact that transmission of the infection within Latvia has been detected for the first time and it is no longer just imported cases. Therefore, higher-level precautions will be taken. However, the biggest threat remains travel from abroad," Dumpis wrote on Twitter.

More information on the situation with regard to the coronavirus outbreak in Europe is available at the homepage of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization, which on March 11 declared a global pandemic.

Currently Latvian authorities are strongly advising against travel to Spain, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Iran, and China as well as recommending that special precautionary measures are taken upon return to Latvia.

Furthermore it is recommended that travellers exercise caution and carefully consider the need to travel also to the following destinations: Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Iceland, India, Iraq, Israel, Canada, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the USA. 

People who have visited infected areas and show possible flu-like symptoms on their return are instructed to call 113 rather than visit their family doctor.

Meanwhile the likelihood of restrictions being placed upon public events seems to be growing. The University of Latvia has published advice to staff and students calling for "serious thought" to be given to the organization and staging of public events until the end of April. the University calls, where possible, for these events to be "postponed rather than canceled (for example, until the autumn)".

With school holidays due in Latvia next week, radio shows and other media outlets have been full of tales of families either cancelling planed trips or wondering whether they should do so as everyone tries to assess the risks of travel to this or that particular destination.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs called on people to temporarily refrain from all journeys outside Latvia's borders except in case of an emergency.

 

 

In neighboring Estonia, the number of coronavirus cases rose by 4 overnight to reach 17, according to an announcement by the Estonian Health Board reported by ERR News.

In Lithuania there are 3 cases and according to LRT News "Vilnius authorities have announced sweeping measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including shutdown of schools for five weeks and cancelling all public events. The city's museums, cinemas and gyms have been ordered to close, too."

 

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