Cipule: it is too soon to consider lifting epidemiological restrictions in Latvia

Currently it is too soon to consider lifting the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19, said the director of Latvian Emergency Medical Service (NMPD) Liene Cipule in an interview to TV3 programme 900 seconds.
When asked to comment on the proposal from Latvian Ministry of Health to maintain the state of emergency in the country for longer, Cipule said it is definitely a good idea to wait and observe infection indexes of the first week of the year before making any decisions.
According to her, the risks and situations observed in other countries suggest Latvia, too, should be prepared to make different rapid decisions in regards to additional restrictions if infection indexes rapidly increase and hospitals come under the risk of overload.
The director of NMPD admits the situation in hospitals has stabilised. However, this came as a result of immense efforts of recent months. In regards to Omicron Covid-19 variant and how highly contagious it is, Cipule said she is worried most people who will end up hospitalised in the coming months will have Omicron infection. This will create additional challenges – the need to maintain special epidemiological regimes and treatment plans.
Cipule admitted in the interview that other illnesses have not gone away. This includes influenza, and it is one more reason why medical workers may experience difficulties with organisation of the flow of patients.
NMPD is also preparing for a large number of ambulance workers getting infected with Omicron Covid-19 variant, which means smaller teams will have work under high workload.
Cipule invited residents to be very careful and responsible with use of protective gear to avoid Omicron Covid-19 infection, adding that booster shots offer the only reliable way to stay safe from Covid-19.
As previously reported, on 3 January the Operational Management Group (OVG) plans to continue discussions about epidemiological safety measures after 11 January and the possible extension of the state of emergency, according to minutes from the previous meeting.
The Ministry of Health proposes extending the state of emergency by another three or four weeks. The ministry also adds it is not possible to reduce epidemiological requirements in the current situation.
At the same time time, the ministry also proposes establishing additional safety restrictions, such as use of medical masks or FFP2 respirators, making Covid-19 testing compulsory for workers in critical industries, etc.
Minutes from the meeting also indicate that after listening to the report on the spread of the spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Latvia, representatives of ministries and social partners did not approve of imposing new restrictions in Latvia.
Ministries together with industries are to develop a plan for uninterrupted operations based on experience of other countries, allowing that the percentage of people unable to work – infected or as contact persons – may reach 40%.