BNN summary of the week: Quarantine in Latvia. Unemployment levels. Sakharov Prize for Navalny

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Medical workers continue battling exhaustion, hopelessness and depression all the while observing Covid-19 infection levels going up, which means more patients for them. The situation in Lithuania is already at the point when hospitals do not admit patients «who are able to stand on their feet».
Covid is not the only topic on everyone’s minds right now. The Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia reports greatly reduced unemployment levels.
The European Parliament announced this week they will award Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny the Sakharov Prize.
BNN gives you a summery of the most relevant events of the past week in the following topics: Tight restrictions; Employment; Covering bills; Restrictions in Estonia; Polish resistance; Sakharov Prize; Tragedy in India.
Curfew, stores closed shut and other epidemiological restrictions imposed in Latvia
Photo: Simona Dilāne
From Thursday, 21 October until 15 November residents in Latvia will be able to leave their household at night only for emergencies, as stated in the amendments passed by the Cabinet of Ministers to the state of emergency.
During the period of time all stores, except for ones selling goods of first necessity, will be closed. Only vital services will remain available.
After 20:00 households will be allowed to walk their pets only in the immediate vicinity of their homes.
Police urge residents to take their pets for walks before 20:00. If they are unable to do this by this time, they will be allowed to walk pets only in the immediate vicinity of their home.
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CSP: unemployment in Latvia in decline
Photo: Pexels
In September 2021 actual unemployment rate in Latvia comprised 6.4 %, which is 0.5 percentage points less than in August. The actual unemployment rate in the country has not been so low since December 2019 (6.6 %).
The unemployment rate for females decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 5.4 % in September, but for males by 0.6 percentage points to 7.5 %, according to data of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSP).
The unemployment rate registered with the State Employment Agency (SEA) was 6.0 %, which is 0.5 percentage points lower than in August.
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Latvian government to help certain resident groups pay electricity bills
Photo: Unplash
From 1 November onward all protected groups of users will receive increased benefits to help cover electricity bills. The government decided to go with this step to compensate the rapid growth of electricity prices, as confirmed by the Ministry of Economics.
Amendments are intended to set electricity benefits for groups of residents at the following levels:
poor household – EUR 15 (EUR 5 currently);
families with disabled children – EUR 15 (EUR 5 currently);
persons with 1st degree disability or their guardian – EUR 15 (EUR 5 currently);
large families – EUR 20 (EUR 10 currently).
Increased benefits are planned to remain in effect until 31 December 2022.
The financing needed for 2021 and 2022 will be allocated using the ministry’s own budget.
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Estonia’s new, stricter Covid rules to be in force until January 10
A view of Tallinn Old Town. Photo: Pixabay
The Estonian government has adopted new restrictions to curb the surge in Covid-19 infections, which will enter into force in the two coming weeks and remain until January 10, 2022. The rules will limit access to public places and events to people with the EU digital Covid-19 certificate proving negative coronavirus test results, as reported by government representatives on
From next week, the obligation to wear a mask will become stricter and the access of unvaccinated adults to entertainment, culture and eating or drinking at restaurants and bars will be restricted, among others. Hospitals will be given support to cope with the crisis. Family medicine centres and local governments will be given support to accelerate the pace of vaccination.
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Landsbergis urges EU to think twice before punishing Poland in rule of law dispute
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. Photo: AP/SCANPIX
In the week of heightened tensions between EU member Poland and the European Commission, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis opined that punishing Poland could lead to deeper anti-European sentiment, American media organisation Bloomberg reports.
This week marked fiery addresses on the issue in the European Parliament from Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Polish President Andrzej Duda visited Vilnius to seek support, prompting Lithuania to take a stand.
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European Parliament decides to award Sakharov Prize to Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny. Photo: REUTERS/SCANPIX
Members of the European Parliament have decided to award the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2021 to Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
The Chairman of the European Parliament David Sassoli said: ‘The European Parliament has chosen Alexei Navalny as the winner of this year’s Sakharov Prize. He has campaigned consistently against the corruption of Vladimir Putin’s regime, and through his social media accounts and political campaigns, Navalny has helped expose abuses and mobilise the support of millions of people across Russia. For this, he was poisoned and thrown in jail.’
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Floods in India take many lives
A person wades through a waterlogged road on a motorcycle in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. Photo: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/SCANPIX
India has been hit by heavy floods, which have taken the lives of no less than 24 people. In the south of the Asian country, floods have cut off entire towns and villages from the outside world, British public broadcaster BBC reports.
The worst-affected is the southern Kerala State. Days of heavy rainfall has also caused deadly landslides. Indian Air Force helicopters are being used to deliver supplies and personnel to areas where people are trapped, local officials stated.
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