Latvia’s president unhappy with government’s decision to lift restrictions for the holiday

Latvia’s President Egils Levits is unhappy with the government’s decision to lift certain Covid-19 restrictions for the upcoming holiday, letting residents to gather more freely in stores, entertainment venues and churches.
In his interview to LTV programme Rīta panorāma, President Egils Levits said now that Omicron variant of Covid-19 has made it to Latvia, residents should be more careful and refrain from gathering in large groups for Christmas and New Year’s celebration. He believes the government should have imposed tighter restrictions to keep people safe. At the same time, the politician notes that no one forces people to use the opened opportunities and that people can decide to not gather in large groups on their own.
Generally Levits does not approve of the government’s decision and urges residents to refrain from gathering for the holiday.
The new Omicron variant is far more contagious than the previous Covid-19 variants. This means restrictions should be made tighter, said Levits.
The president believes there have been two situation during the pandemic so far when the government was late with restrictions. Egils Levits says he has concerns the government now risks repeating the same mistake a third time.
The president allows the government did not impose tighter restrictions because it is concerned about its popularity.
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As for ways to expand vaccination coverage, especially in risk groups, Levits said it is necessary to impose tighter restrictions for non-vaccinated residents in order to reduce mutual contacts and infection risks.
The president believes Latvia has done «almost everything possible» when it comes to vaccine accessibility in the country, adding there is a lot left to do in terms of convincing people to vaccinate.