Health Minister: responsibility falls not on the Ministry alone

For a successful management of the COVID-19 crisis, it is not only the work of the Ministry of Health (VM) that matters, but the government as a whole and the Prime Minister as the captain of the team, Minister for Health Ilze Viņķele wrote in her blog, LETA reported October 25.

Viņķele wrote that crisis management is a collective responsibility because “control of restrictions is the competence of the Interior Ministry, organization of learning process - Ministry of Education and Science, support for entrepreneurs - Ministry of Economics, adaptation of social security services to these conditions - Ministry of Welfare, etc.”.

The politician explained that the range of virus limiting measures proposed by VM is based on reducing the amount and duration of human contacts. “Social and physical distancing, combined with wearing masks, disinfecting hands and surfaces, is capable of reducing infection. Social distancing is a reduction of face-to-face contacts, a stay in your “bubble” - family, educational establishment, a workplace,” Viņķele wrote. 

“Studies are available on the epidemiological effectiveness of the various restrictions, but another important issue is their side effects, psychological, economic,” the Minister wrote.

In her view, among experts and society as a whole, the demand for an assessment of the impact of epidemiological safety and restrictions in a wider context has increased. Viņkele stated that this impact assessment cannot be solely the responsibility of the VM.

“In the spring, VM became the Ministry of All Things, from which solutions were expected, from border control to law enforcement.”

“The work of VM, Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC), medical authorities and medics is to plan epidemiological safety measures, offer their introduction, analyze infection trends, ensure the continuity of health care.”

The Minister considers that the latest restrictions introduced, “if respected in good faith”, will have an impact on the spread of infection in approximately two weeks' time.

“The society's obligation is to comply, not circumvent the restrictions.

Without the conscientious involvement of the public, the temporary relatively modest restrictions may prove insufficient, and in order for the healthcare system to avoid overload caused by COVID-19 patients in order to continue providing assistance to patients with other diseases, stricter restrictions will have to be introduced,” the Minister said.

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