Omicron forces Latvian government to extend state of emergency until March

Due to the rapid spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19, the state of emergency in Latvia has been extended until 28 February, as confirmed by amendments to the order on the declaration of the state of emergency passed at the 6 January extraordinary meeting of the government.
The Ministry of Health, which submitted the amendments, notes that to prevent a rapid surge of infections, it is necessary to maintain the epidemiological restrictions that are already in place, adding that it is currently unacceptable to lift them.
The ministry notes that the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 started spreading very rapidly in Europe and the world. In the EU the number of confirmed Omicron infection cases doubles almost every day. In some countries the number of new Covid-19 cases has already exceeded the numbers previously set by the Delta variant.
Compared to 2 December 2021, Covid-19 index in the EU has doubled. In Denmark, where Omicron spread is the most rapid, infection index has increased five times. In Britain and France it has increased four times. This means a rapid increase of Covid-19 infections is expected in Latvia.
The ministry explains that in spite of the fact that Omicron infections pass more lightly than Delta, people have to keep in mind that vaccines are less effective against this Covid-19 variant and do not prevent hospitalisation.
It is also important to keep in mind that at a very high infection index there is a very high probability of severe infection form for non-vaccinated people. This is why the outlook suggests a rapid and uncontrolled increase of Covid-19 patients in hospitals.
Read also: South African research points to reduced hospitalisations with Omicron, compared to Delta
The ministry adds that because vaccines are less effective, they still protect residents from a symptomatic Covid-19 infection. At the same time, people suffering from asymptomatic Covid-19 infection are also strongly affected by it and have reduced working ability.