The World Health Organization in January declared the coronavirus outbreak a “global health emergency”, it is highest level of alarm, which it reserves for the most serious, sudden, unexpected outbreaks that cross international borders and might require a coordinated response between countries. Few weeks later on March 11 the Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic on as it spreads in more than 100 countries around the world.
This is the first time the pandemic designation has been used for a coronavirus. The virus causes mild respiratory infections in about 80% of those infected, though about half will have pneumonia. Another 15% develop severe illness, and 5% need critical care. Europe is the epicenter of the first pandemic of COVID-19 and every country, with no exceptions, needs to take their boldest actions to stop or slow down the spread of this virus.
The government of Latvia has decided to extend the precautionary and security measures during the emergency situation in order to prevent more effectively the spread of COVID-19. These measures will stay in place until April 14.
International passenger transport through airports, ports, by bus and rail transport is cancelled as of 17 March. In addition, the movement of persons and vehicles through airport, port, railway and road border crossing points at the European Union’s external border, as well as at border crossing points intended for local border traffic is banned from 17 March 2020. This prohibition will not apply to the carriage of goods.
The above-mentioned restrictions shall not apply to nationals of the Republic of Latvia who wish to return to Latvia. Nor do they apply to foreign nationals whose permanent place of residence is in Latvia and who want to return here or to foreign nationals who want to leave Latvia.
Child care facilities provide on-call service from March 16 to parents who cannot provide childcare themselves. Parents will be required to submit a written statement to the preschool once a week that the child and family have not been abroad for the past 14 days and have not been in contact with Covid-19 sufferers or contacts, and parents are not otherwise able to provide childcare.
The on-site learning process will be interrupted at all educational institutions and training will be provided remotely. In addition, all public events and activities are prohibited irrespective of the number of visitors. Meetings, demonstrations, pickets and religious activities involving the assembly are also prohibited. Unorganized gatherings in cultural, entertainment, recreation, sports and religious venues for more than 50 people at the same time is limited. The office hours of cultural, entertainment, sports and other recreational areas will be no longer than until 23.00.
Due to the state-declared emergency in the country due to the COVID-19 virus, face-to-face visitor reception and other restrictions have been suspended in almost all state and municipal structures, institutions and companies all over the country. All institutions continue to operate remotely and provide services online, by telephone or by email. Consequently, slower progress in the provision of services is to be expected at the moment.
Many companies and local businesses also continue to work, part of them remotely and, if possible, employees are working from home.
Information source: Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Finance, World Health Organization