Latvian government plans to extend state of emergency due to the spread of Omicron

Due to the spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Latvia, the government has decided to extend the state of emergency until 28 February, as announced by Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš after a meeting of the ruling coalition.
Previously the state of emergency in the country was to remain in force until 11 January. Even before the end of the year the Ministry of Health suggested extending the state of emergency by another three to four weeks.
The PM explains that epidemiological restrictions will remain in force. However, it is planned to tighten mask-wearing requirement, vaccination certificate validity terms, as well as expand Covid-19 testing.
The government plans to establish a rule for wearing medical masks or respirators in public places. Currently residents are allowed to wear multi-use fabric masks.
For Covid-19 vaccination certificates it is planned to establish a nine-month period of validity. For persons who were vaccinated using Johnson&Johnson vaccine this period will be shorter.
It is planned to expand Covid-19 testing in the private sector.
The Cabinet of Ministers will need to decide on extending the state of emergency. The decision will then need to be passed by the parliament.
As previously reported, the Operational Management Group (OVG) suggested extending the state of emergency in Latvia by at least three to four weeks. The Ministry of Health explained that it is not possible to ease epidemiological restrictions at this time.
The ministry proposed establishing additional safety conditions, such as using medical masks or FFP2 respirators, compulsory Covid-19 testing in critical industries, continuing remote work as much as possible, performing additional testing with self-test products to receive services.
The ministry was entrusted to develop safe work environment recommendations.
An entry in the minutes of the meeting indicate that after listening to the report on the spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Latvia, representatives of ministries and social partners did not approve of plans to impose additional safety restrictions.