BNN summary of the week: Covid-19 crisis. Enormous bills. Vaccination pay

Perception of reality seems to vary depending of the people. Some people don’t understand why restrictions weren’t adopted sooner and others don’t understand why there is even a need for restrictions. Only medical workers fall deeper into complete exhaustion because of increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients coming in.
Because the numbers of medical workers and the resources available to them are quite limited, hospitals in Latvia have decided to put on hold all scheduled surgeries to make space for both Covid-19 patients and other people in need of hospitalization.
The government continues efforts to expand vaccination coverage using not only penalties (non-vaccinated people are not allowed to enter supermarkets and other public locations, for example) but also using other methods, such as helping out pensioners with heating bills.
Energy prices are up around the world. This, naturally, has an effect on Latvia and the price of heating services.
BNN gives you a summery of the most relevant events of the past week in the following topics: Budget 2022; Hospitals overloading; Crime; Billing; Vaccination pay; Estonia’s new president; Important vaccine.
Latvian government passes 2022 state budget project
Photo: Unsplash
On Tuesday, 12 October, Latvia’s government passed the legislative draft On State Budget 2022. In it state consolidated budget revenue is planned at EUR 10.6 billion and expenditures – at EUR 12.5 billion.
A considerable amount of funding in the 2022 state budget is planned to be allocated to increase wages of healthcare workers, teachers and workers of the interior affairs sector. Considerable finances are planned to be allocated to fund state security-related measures, implementation of previously made decisions and other priority activities.
One of the government’s outlined priorities in taxes is the reduction of labour force tax. To continue the reduction of labour force tax for low-wage recipients and improve the competitiveness of enterprises in Baltic States, it is necessary to continue increasing non-taxable minimum while also increasing the non-taxable minimum for pensioners.
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Hospitals in Latvia to shut down scheduled services next week
Photo: Evija Trifanova/LETA
With the rapid increase of Covid-19 infections and patients coming in, National Commission for Operational Medicine (VOMK) decided on Thursday, 14 October, to shut down scheduled healthcare services in hospitals starting with Monday, 18 October, as confirmed by Ministry of Health.
The decision was made so that it is possible to provide additional medical personnel resources and organize beds for emergency, acute and Covid-19 patients.
Epidemiological outlooks suggest the workload of hospitals continues rapidly growing because of Covid-19 patients.
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More than ten criminal procedures commenced in Latvia over fictive vaccination
Chief of ENAP Pēteris Bauska. Photo: Paula Čurkste/LETA
Latvian State Police have more than ten criminal procedures in the works regarding possible fictive Covid-19 vaccination, journalists were told on Thursday, 14 October, by the chief of State Police Economic Crimes Enforcement Unit (ENAP) Pēteris Bauska.
These criminal procedures are investigated by bot ENAP and regional police departments. Police have also commenced multiple inspections.
Bauska explained police have a lot of work to determine the potentially fictive vaccination «clients». Nevertheless, law enforcers have an algorithm to help check if people’s bodies have antibodies that normally appear after vaccination.
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Heating costs per household in Riga to grow 40%; similar trends observed elsewhere
Photo: Unsplash
This year’s heating costs in Riga may increase 40% per household, as reported by Rīgas siltums board chairman Normunds Talcis at the 13 October meeting of the Housing Subcommittee of Saeima’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee.
The subcommittee discussed the situation at the start of the heating season, increased costs of energy resources and supplies energy resources in Riga and the country as a whole. Talcis said this year the company decided to provide heating to all houses in spite of any outstanding debts. Rīgas siltums will continue enforcing debts from each building. Nevertheless, residents of the capital city will not be left in the cold.
The company’s board chairman said prices of energy resources have increased sharply. Rīgas siltums has submitted tariff changes to the Public Utilities Commission. This means from 1 November onward prices will increase to 66 EUR/MWh. Talcis stressed that this is an unprecedented price, and the increase can be explained with energy price rise.
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Lithuania to pay 100 euros to newly vaccinated seniors, no lockdown planned
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė. Photo:
The Lithuanian Seimas has approved a scheme to pay 100 euros to the elderly, who will end their vaccination course by December. Meanwhile, the government of Lithuania, currently does not plan introducing a new lockdown saying that the system of restrictions for people without Covid-19 certificates works well, Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reports.
On Tuesday, October 12, the Seimas approved the government’s proposal to allocate one hundred euros to people over the age of 75, who had not been vaccinated with any dose of the vaccine by September, but will be fully vaccinated by December 1, LRT wrote.
As to the possibility of another lockdown over the considerable spread of Covid-19 in the country, prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė said the government is not considering reimposing a national lockdown.
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Estonia changes presidents. Alar Karis takes office with call for peace
Alar Karis delivers his first speech as Estonian President at the inauguration ceremony in Tallinn, Estonia, Photo:
In the post of the President of the Republic of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid has ended her term in office giving way to her successor, former State Auditor and Director of the Estonian National Museum Alar Karis. In his inauguration speech, Karis focused on everyone’s duty to defend peace in the country.
According to the office of the Estonian President, the inauguration took place on Monday, October 11. Here is Karis’ inauguration speech delivered at the Riigikogu in full.
«My fellow Estonians, Honourable President Rüütel, President Ilves, President Kaljulaid, dear Riigikogu, members of the Government and guests I am honoured to make my first remarks as president of the Republic of Estonia in this, our country’s most hallowed chamber.
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World’s first malaria vaccine recommended to young children, by WHO
A health worker prepares a malaria vaccination for a child at Yala Sub-County hospital, in Yala, Kenya, on October 7, 2021. Photo: AFP/SCANPIX
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended for the first time a vaccine against the malaria disease, which in Africa, takes around 260 000 child lives every year.
According to the WHO, since last week it suggests widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission. The recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800 000 children since 2019.
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