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Minister: Latvia is already more cautious with coronavirus than Europe

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Latvia’s Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele

Latvia has already adopted more serious measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 than what European authorities have recommended, as confirmed by Latvia’s Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Tuesday, 25 February.

She explained that the European Disease Prevention and Control Centre decided on Monday to not expand the range of territories that should be monitored for coronavirus, but Latvia «has gone further». «We are cautious and we have decided to expand the definition of the illness and on top of people who have visited China, we have also decided to monitor people who have been to Lombardy and Veneto regions, as well as South Korea and Iran recently,» explains the minister.

She stresses that neither European institutions nor the World Health Organization recommend establishing air traffic restrictions to and from Italy. On top of that, it is also important to keep in mind that this country is also reachable on land. Additionally, people who have been to Lombardy and Veneto recently are able to use airports of other countries to travel.

«Because of that it seems such a regulation [air traffic restrictions] may fail to bring the desired effect,» says Viņķele.

On Tuesday, 25 February, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš will be holding a meeting of the Crisis Management Council over the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 in Europe. The council will listen to the report from Healthcare Ministry and other healthcare institutions on the situation with the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 in Europe and possible measures to prevent its continued spread.

The previous meeting of the Crisis Management Council took place 4 February.

On Monday, 24 February, the State Medical Commission decided to expand Covid-19 prevention measures by outlining additional countries and territories, returning from which residents will have to undergo additional security checks.

Read also: Officials: there is no reason to panic over possible spread of coronavirus in Latvia

Healthcare Ministry reports that from Monday, 24 February, onwards countries and territories in which coronavirus infections have been found so far and people travelling from which are to be applied with additional measures include China, South Korea, Iran, Italy’s Lombardy and Veneto.

Residents who have plans to travel to any country or territory affected by the coronavirus are advised to perform general health safety measures and follow recommendations of local government institutions.

Travellers returning from aforementioned territories have to closely observe their health for 14 days. If symptoms of the illness appear – increased body temperature, cough, sore throat, difficulty with breathing, etc. – people should limit contacts with family members and other people, immediately call 113, inform their family doctor about the symptoms.

Specialists also advise children returning from a country or territory affected by Covid-19 coronavirus to refrain from coming to school for two weeks and undergo health monitoring for this period of time.

«If no symptoms appear, children may be allowed to go to school with permission from the family doctor. If symptoms do appear, parents have to contact 113 and report all relevant information about their travels to healthcare institutions,» says Healthcare Ministry.

Education facility heads are asked to monitor cases when children from their respective school visit territories affected by the coronavirus and inform parents of the dangers and provide recommendations.

Latvia’s Emergency Health Service (NMPD) plans to rework its algorithm for response to calls. NMPD head Liene Cipule stressed at the meeting that the service is prepared for emergencies.

Reserves have been organized to ensure protection for medics, too. Both Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital and Children’s Clinical University Hospital affirm their readiness to admit patients and provide them with all necessary assistance.

So far there has not been a single confirmed case of coronavirus infection in Latvia. Nevertheless, the situation in the country and Europe is volatile. Residents are urged to follow information and updates published on the website of Latvia’s Disease Prevention and Control Centre.


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  1. Laydor says:

    Minister: Latvia is already more cautious with coronavirus than Europe
    One Iranian Person: I am going to ruin this minister’s career.

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