Ruling coalition in Latvia to discuss if it is necessary to extend state of emergency

Today, 4 January, political parties of the ruling coalition in Latvia will meet and discuss whether or not it is necessary to extend the state of emergency declared in the country due to the spread of Covid-19.
The current state of emergency in Latvia is set to end on 11 January. However, the Ministry of Health has proposed extending it by at least three to four weeks, according to minutes of a meeting of the Operational Management Group (OVG).
It is planned that on Tuesday, 4 January, the ministry will present to the politicians the latest data. OVG may also present its proposals and recommendations for political parties to make a weighed and appropriate decision.
The government plans to make its decision on Thursday, 6 January.
Once a sufficient legal justifications have been received, the New Conservative Party would be ready to make its decision in regards to the proposal from the Ministry of Health on the possible extension of the state of emergency, said the party’s Saeima faction vice-chairman Krišjānis Feldmans.
The deputy said his party will be responsible towards the ministry’s proposal and, if there are scientifically backed data and legal justifications, the party would be prepared to vote.
He said the ministry’s proposal has been discussed among officials so far. Politicians, on the other hand, are not very well-informed of this. This is why the ministry should present its proposal at the next coalition meeting.
Saeima’s New Unity faction leader Ainars Latkovskis said that, considering the experience of countries that have been hit the hardest by Covid-19 Omicron variant so far, Latvia should extend the state of emergency by another month.
He said the rapid spread of the Omicron variant around the world and experience of other countries allows for the conclusion that Latvia should extend the state of emergency. According to the politician, it is necessary in order to control the situation, especially in hospitals.
Latkovskis said it is better to be prepared than otherwise. At the same time, he said not extending the state of emergency would be hasty, considering what is happening in the countries in which Omicron has already spread rapidly.
As previously reported, OVG reported at a meeting with the Ministry of Health that it is currently impossible to reduce epidemiological restrictions.
At the same time, the ministry also proposes imposing additional safety precautions, including the use of medical masks or FFP2 respirators, compulsory testing of workers in critical sectors, maintaining remote work as much as possible, performance of additional testing using self-test services in amateur sports, choirs and dance collectives.