Officials say measures are in place to deal with coronavirus if required

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Government and officials told the media February 4 that measures were in place to deal with any cases detected in Latvia of the new strain of coronavirus from china, while stressing that no such cases had yet been detected.

Speaking to journalists shortly after a special meeting of the Crisis Managment Council, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said: "I have two positive conclusions: first, that no such cases have yet appeared in Latvia and second, that we are confident our departments are fully prepared and are exchanging information as necessary. Our country is prepared and our official departments are ready for all eventualities."

Standing beside him was health minister Ilze Viņķele who advised the public to check only official and credible information sources such as public media and not fall for hoaxes about the spread of coronavirus generated by clickbait-hungry websites. The Health Ministry has informed the State Police about dangerous misinformation and attempts to spread panic and fear, she said.  

Viņķele called for accuracy in reporting, saying it was wrong to speak of a "death virus" giving the impression that all cases are fatal, saying instead that "It is a new strain of this type of virus that can be fatal."

She also reminded the public that the quarantine period for people who had visited affected areas of China was 14 days and should be followed regardless of whether symptoms showed themselves.

The briefing also revealed that posters giving information to travellers have been erected at Rīga Inernaitonal Airport and that border guards are confident they have the equipment to deal with cases if and when they are reported, including isolation facilities. 

The briefing ended with Kariņš asked what single piece of advice he would give the public regarding the coronavirus.

"If it was one thing, it would be 'wash your hands'," he quipped.




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