Latvian authorities tightened a number of restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from Saturday, October 17, due to an increase in infection rates. As of Saturday, all catering establishments must close between 00:00 and 06:00 (local time) and are limited to allow four people per table. Private events are limited to 30 people indoors and 300 people outdoors. Most amateur sports are also prohibited. Facemasks have previously been made mandatory in most enclosed public spaces.
Travelers from the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, and the UK are permitted to enter Latvia. However, those arriving from one of these countries must self-isolate for ten days on arrival if that country has a 14-day cumulative incidence of COVID-19 greater than 16 cases per 100,000. Travel from all other countries is not permitted, except for returning immediate family members of Latvian nationals, diplomats, individuals in transit, and freight workers.
As of Sunday, October 18, health authorities have confirmed 3392 cases of COVID-19 in Latvia, with 43 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.