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10 Jun 2020 | 04:13 PM UTC

Latvia: Authorities lift state of emergency June 10; restrictions remain in place /update 8

Latvian authorities lift the country’s state of emergency on June 10; COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, follow authority directives

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LVA

Event

The Latvian government lifted the country's state of emergency on Wednesday, June 10, and announced the additional easing of restrictions that remain in place in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. As of Wednesday, up to 100 people are permitted to gather indoors and up to 300 people are permitted to gather outdoors. Social distancing measures remain in place; individuals are required to remain 2m (6.6 ft) from each other and hygiene measures, such as regular hand-washing and disinfecting, are also required.

Individuals are required to cover their noses and mouths with protective face masks when using public transport services. Restaurants are permitted to host up to four people at an indoor table, and up to eight on an outdoor table, providing there is a minimum of 4 sqm (43 sqft) space per person maintained. Tables must be disinfected after each group of individuals leave and restaurants must also provide a take-out option.  

According to reports, a nighttime curfew is in place between 00:00-06:30 (local time) for cultural, sporting, entertainment, and religious activities. Open-air cinemas and catering establishments are exempt from this and can open until 02:00. Additionally, sports training is permitted with groups of no more than 30 people; spectators will not be permitted to attend indoor sporting events if the area is below 1000 sqm (10,764 sqft). Authorities stated that further easing of indoor and outdoor public gatherings will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Latvian government announced on Tuesday, June 2, that it would ease restrictions on those arriving from most European countries from Wednesday, June 3. Most visitors will no longer be required to self-isolate as part of an easing of emergency coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures. Those arriving who have been in Sweden, the UK, Portugal, Belgium, Malta, Ireland, or Spain over the past two weeks will still be required to isolate for 14 days. Travel to and from all other European countries will be unrestricted. Latvia had already opened a "travel bubble" with the neighboring Baltic states of Lithuania and Estonia from May 6.

As of June 10, health authorities have confirmed 1092 cases of COVID-19 in Latvia, with 26 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.  

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.

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