PM: New year expected to bring new Covid wave

Experts project the next Covid-19 wave to hit Latvia at the end of January or beginning of February, which means there is still some time to prepare for it, Prime Minister Krišjanis Kariņš (New Unity) said in an interview with Latvian Television on Tuesday, the LETA newswire reported. 

The premier indicated that this window of opportunity must be used to stimulate vaccination against Covid-19, including with booster doses. Asked how to encourage people to get their third vaccine dose, Kariņš said that he expects the Health Ministry to reopen the large vaccination centers, so that people could have easy access to the jabs. 

The prime minister urged people not to put off the booster doses, because latest research suggests that they are effective also against the omicron strain of the virus. 

The new Covid-19 variant is three times more contagious than the delta variant and there is still no solid proof that it causes a milder illness, so "if you still have not been vaccinated, please get vaccinated", the premier said. 

Urging people to also keep using facemasks, best of all FFP2 standard respirators, Karins informed that the government will also decide on more extensive testing, especially of people arriving from countries that are hardest-hit by omicron. 

In Kariņš' words, the "green mode" will remain effective in most spheres in Latvia, with access to various services only available to people with vaccination certificates. 

Kariņš warned that if hospitals become saturated with Covid-19 patients again, Latvia might have to go into fresh lockdown. 

The validity period for vaccination certificates will be six months or a bit longer, he said. 

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