Latvia set for month-long total lockdown, night curfew as Covid-19 spikes

Riga, Oct 19 (EFE).- The Latvian government has agreed to enforce a stay-at-home lockdown and nightly curfew for four weeks in a bid to snap a spike in the spread of Covid-19 in a country that only recently reached 50% vaccine coverage.

The decision was made following a marathon meeting between government ministers and a crisis management group late Monday and is set to be formalized on Wednesday.

It came after the Latvian Center for Disease Prevention and Control said that by its calculations, the Baltic country had the highest incidence of Covid-19 positive cases in the world.

Minister of Health Daniels Pavluts told journalists Monday night that there was agreement in principle to implement a complete lockdown for four weeks ending November 15 with an all-night curfew from 8PM to 5AM.

Movement outside homes will be limited to travel to essential jobs and shopping for basic needs.

The measures are set to be the harshest in Latvia since the pandemic began in March 2020.

According to Pavluts, the lockdown would include a ban on all sports, entertainment, culture (movies, theater, concerts), catering, fitness activities, all gatherings including religious and other events in person.

Under the proposal, autumn school holidays would be extended by a week and schools, except for grades 1 to 3, will return to distance learning from November 1.

The harsh restrictions appear to have the support of at least half of the political parties in Latvia’s four-party ruling coalition.

The New Unity party of Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins also issued a statement supporting a strong lockdown.

The new sense of acute crisis in Latvia comes after the daily count of new infections rose well past 2,000 and the number of persons hospitalized rose by 121 on Monday to 1,114, according to National Health Service data reported by local media.

A Latvian TV evening news show showed medical staff setting up an emergency intensive care unit in the lobby of a major Riga hospital in anticipation of an overflow of Covid-19 patients and called for volunteers to help with non-medical care for patients, such as turning them in bed, making beds and serving meals.EFE


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