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03 Apr 2020 | 10:55 AM UTC

Latvia: Country confirms first COVID-19-related death April 3 /update 2

Latvia confirms first COVID-19-related death on April 3; airBaltic to reduce service from April 15 to October 31

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LVA

Event

On Friday, April 3, Latvia's Ministry of Health confirmed the country's first coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related death. The patient was a 99-year-old woman who was being treated at a hospital in Riga.

AirBaltic announced on Friday that it will reduce its flight operations by approximately 40 percent between Wednesday, April 15 and Saturday, October 31. It will postpone flights on new routes originally planned to begin in summer of 2020 and halt flights on several additional routes during this time. A measure suspending all international air traffic, introduced by the government on Monday, March 16, will remain in place through Tuesday, April 14.

All international travel by air, railway, sea, and road has been suspended since March 16. Latvian citizens and permanent residents are exempt from these restrictions. Exemptions will also be made to freight and "the movement of persons and vehicles", although the government did not announce further details. Land borders with Russia and Belarus are closed to public and private transport. Public gatherings of over 50 people are also forbidden, and school examinations are postponed until May.

As of April 3, there have been 493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Latvia, including one associated fatality. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.