Number of coronavirus cases in Latvia rises to six

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The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Latvia has doubled in less than 24 hours, with six now the official total on the morning of March 9.

The Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) confirmed that another three patients with an infection had been added to the confirmed figure, meaning that of 244 people tested since January 29, six have tested positive.

All three of the new cases had been on the same March 7 flight from Milan, Italy, to Rīga as two previous confirmed cases.

In addition, 160 people are known to be in quarantine, said the SPKC, with most of them passengers on the flights that seem to have brought COVID-19 to the Baltic states from Italy.

airBaltic has announced the suspension of all flights to and from Milan and Verona in northern Italy.

Later on Monday, officials repeated their advice that people should carefully consider whether any planned trips - particularly to countries and areas with significant infections - are really necessary. The six countries listed as to be avoided if possible are Japan, Koreja, China, Italy, Iran and Singapore.

Following a meeting of the national Crisis Management Council, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš warned that old people might be particularly vulnerable, but so far all six cases recorded in Latvia are among young, healthy people with a good chance of recovery.

Except for the very first recorded case, all other patients have flown on a single flight from the affected resort of Cervinia in Italy and appear to have caught the virus there. Correspondingly, epidemiologists stress that there is still no basis for talking about the spread of the virus in Latvia.

The prime minister said that an additional 170 people who had been in contact with the confirmed cases were in quarantine. 

"There are no cases in Latvia where someone is seriously ill. There are no cases of transmissions within Latvia's borders. We shall assess where and how we shall proceed," Kariņš said, suggesting people might look to tourism opportunities within the country rather than overseas. In addition, possible forms of support for the tourism industry were being examined he said.


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