BNN summary of the week: Lay-offs for non-vaccinated people. Covid-19 medicine. Global pollution

This week the world’s attention turned slightly away from the topic of the pandemic towards no less topical problem of climate change. Countries come together and discuss ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down the planet’s temperature climb.
This week Latvia’s Saeima passed a controversially received law that permits employers to lay off employees who are not vaccinated for Covid-19. Aside from that the Saeima also passed regulations under which the state will pay compensation to people who suffer serious side-effects from Covid-19 vaccination.
This week it was also reported that the number of deaths from Covid-19 around the world has exceeded five million people. This week the British medicine regulator gave green light for the first Covid-19 medicine.
BNN gives you a summery of the most relevant events of the past week in the following topics: Work; Price growth; Penalty; Nature; Resignation in Estonia; Covid-19 medicine; Victims of the virus.
No certificate – no job. Employers in Latvia to be able to lay off non-vaccinated workers
Photo: PexelsOn 4 November Latvia’s parliament passed in the final reading amendments to the law that provide employers the right to lay off non-vaccinated employees who fall under the requirement for compulsory Covid-19 vaccination.
Employees will be allowed to be laid off if they fail to undergo vaccination within at least three months after their suspension. In the event of a lay-off, the non-vaccinated employee will be paid compensation worth one monthly wage amount.
Previously the government decided to declare a three-month state of emergency on 11 October. At the same time, the government imposed restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19 and to expand vaccination coverage. Emphasis is put on remote work and the requirement for workers of state and municipal institutions to vaccinate for Covid-19.
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Economist explains the link between gas reserves and consumer price rise?
Mārtiņš Āboliņš. Photo: Edijs Pālens/LETAAlthough Latvia is once again under tight curfew due to Covid-19, which, according to many, has taken away the colours from the already grey autumn, it is possible people may conclude this year was «blessed». In the near future residents and companies in Latvia will feel the consequences from the considerable climb of natural resource prices. The price rise will impact some sectors directly, such as the energy sector, and some indirectly, says Citadele Bank senior economist Mārtiņš Āboliņš.
Transport and logistics costs will increase, as will all tariffs on production, postage and other services.
Economic recovery after the drop caused by the pandemic will be very rapid, but it will not benefit residents’ wallets, says Āboliņš.
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Supreme Court to enforce nearly EUR 1.5 million from ex-board members of Pasažieru vilciens
Jānis Pētersons (from the left), Edmunds Kancēvičs and Nils Freivalds. Photo: Edijs Pālens/LETAOn Thursday, 4 November, Latvia’s Supreme Court’s Department of Criminal Cases decided to maintain the ruling of Riga Regional Court in accordance with which four ex-board members of Pasažieru vilciens were found guilty of abuse of power, as reported by the court.
In this criminal case ex-board members of PV Nils Freivalds, Mārtiņš Jirgens, Edmunds Kancēvičs and Jānis Pētersons are accused of abuse of power by signing a high-risk business deal for the supply of trains with Spanish Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A. (CAF).
According to the court, one of the accused was punished with a fine equal to 45 minimal monthly wages or EUR 19 350. The three other accused were fined EUR 17 200 each. All of them were also presented with prohibition to take elected posts in state and municipal businesses.
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Research: Greenhouse gas emissions globally return to pre-pandemic anti-records
Photo: PixabayWith global greenhouse gas emissions growing fast in 2021, the 1.5C emission limits critical to the Earth’s climate patterns will be reached in 11 years, according research by the international emissions-measuring organisation Global Carbon Project, British news portal The Guardian reports.
The organisation predicted in its research Global Carbon Budget 2021 that emissions from coal and gas are jumping this year by more than they fell in 2020. Oil use is also rising in 2021, but more slowly because transport activity remains below normal.
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Estonian Culture Minister steps down over lack of support during restrictions
Estonian politician Anneli Ott. Photo: Sakala/ScanpixIn Estonia, Culture Minister Anneli Ott has announced her resignation from office. The Centre Party minister has been criticised for not vaccinating against Covid-19 at a time, when indoor cultural events are closed to people only able to present negative results of a Covid-19 test, ERR broadcaster reports.
On Tuesday, November 2, the politician unveiled the decision at a media link from the Centre Party office in Tallinn.
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UK approves first oral drug for Covid-19 treatment
Molnupiravir. Photo: AP/SCANPIXThe British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has approved the first drug against Covid-19 for oral treatment. The Molnupiravir capsules in the country have been approved for the treatment of risk group patients in the early stages of the disease, British public broadcaster BBC reports.
The medicine has been developed by the US drug companies Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. According to the manufacturers, the new treatment targets an enzyme that the virus uses to make copies of itself, introducing errors into its genetic code. That is expected to prevent the virus from multiplying, therefore keeping virus levels low in the body and reducing the severity of Covid-19.
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Number of Covid-19 victims globally exceeds 5 000 000
A Ritual funeral service employee is seen at the Yastrebkovskoye Cemetery. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), the death rate increased by over 14.1% in Russia in 2021 compared to 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: TASS/SCANPIXDuring the pandemic thus far, more than 5 000 000 people have died from health conditions related to the virus disease Covid-19, according to American medical statisticians, as quoted by the BBC.
The Coronavirus Resource Centre of the US Johns Hopkins University has calculated that by Monday, November 1, the number of registered Covid-19 deaths worldwide has reached 5 001 991. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the pandemic’s real global death toll could be two to three times higher than official records.
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