Minister: possible solutions to Covid-19 crisis in Latvia – from distance teaching to evening curfew

To reduce the risk of Latvia’s healthcare sector overloading, the government needs to adopt new Covid-19 restrictions, and this needs to be done as soon as possible, said Minister of Health Daniels Pavļuts in an interview to TV3 on 18 October.
The politician did not mention any clear proposals he intends to the present government. At the same time, he said the possible solutions the government may adopt are already well-known: distance teaching, school break extension, closure of stores that are not crucial, closure of all kinds of interior events, evening curfew, etc. He said he is unable to detail any specific restrictions because there are still questions that need discussing.
«We said we would do what we can to avoid limiting vaccinated people. We said we would do what we can to keep schools open. However, we have reached the edge of the cliff,» said the minister, adding that
hospitals are close to the point of «choosing who gets to live and who dies».
The minister stressed that Latvia’s medical system is on the eve of catastrophe. On top of that, medical workers often say people and the government believe they are the ones who should carry the weight of Covid-19 crisis.
Pavļuts said the most recent restrictions imposed by the government have changed society’s behaviour very little – public transports are full, people continue crowding in stores, the option to work remotely is not followed much, etc. This is why the main objective now is limiting people’s social contacts. Politicians will need to decide on methods of achieving and controlling it.
Pavļuts said he is unhappy with the fact that only the Ministry of Health is talking about restrictions in the government, whereas other ministries act only as advocates of the interests of of their respective industries, objecting against different proposals.
As it is known, because of the continued spread of Covid-19, Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš called a meeting of the Crisis Management Council on 18 October. Kariņš says the meeting of the council was called because the minister of health reported the Covid-19 situation develops more negatively than expected. During the meeting it is planned to listen to experts from the Ministry of Health to discuss future activities.
According to the minister’s Twitter entry posted on Sunday, 17 October, experts’ analysis and the first data regarding the newly-imposed epidemiological and their effect on public behaviour suggest reduction of contacts achieved by said restrictions is about 5-10%, which is below expectations from the state of emergency. This means the outlook for the development of Covid-19 crisis is worse than it was a week prior. «We need a bigger reduction of interpersonal contacts,» said the minister.