Latvia also declares emergency situation

Border marker at Latvia's border with Estonia.
Border marker at Latvia's border with Estonia. Source: ERR

Estonia's southern neighbor, Latvia, has also declared an emergency situation as a result of the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. The phase is currently set to last until April 14, prime minister Arturs Krisjanis Karins said Thursday.

Other measures in conjunction with the Latvian ministry of health include closure of all educational institutions from Friday, with remote learning methods employed, and a requirement for written confirmation from parents of kindergarteners that their children had not recently been in coronavirus at-risk zones or in contact with carriers of the virus, by Friday, March 13.

All sporting and hobby gatherings, public events, proecessions, protests etc. with more than 200 attendees are banned from Friday in Latvia.

Travel agencies have been instructed to postpone planned trips wherever possible and not to plan new ones for countries and regions affected by the virus. Institutions and companies are advised to cancel and postpone business trips to these locations and not to plan new ones.

All people are also encouraged to refrain from traveling abroad.

People returning from areas where the virus spreads are urged not to endanger people around them by reducing direct contact - not welcoming guests, visiting public places, not going to work, and possibly not using public transport.

When buying food and other necessities, it is advisable to use a home delivery service, avoiding direct contact with the home provider or asking the loved ones who leave the food bags at the door. 

Special precautions should be taken by people returning from or exposed to COVID-19 affected areas, including monitoring their medical condition for 14 days and measuring body temperature twice daily.

State and municipal authorities have been recommended to provide teleworking services. 

Latvua currently has 16 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

Stepped up border controls were announced by the Estonian government when it declared a coronavirus state of emergency Thursday night. Estonia shares a 333 kilometer-long border with Latvia, and both countries are in the Schengen area of free movement.

Lithuania, Finland

No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Lithuania following around 30 tests conducted on Wednesday. At present three cases have been diagnosed in that country, all of them people who had returned from trips to northern Italy.

Authorities in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, have closed down all kindergartens, schools and universities for five weeks, according to ERR's online news in Estonian, as well as museums, cinemas, sports clubs and other public places, and has banned gatherings of more than 100 people.

Estonia's northern neighbor Finland has recorded over 100 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, and is seeing larger events with 500 or more attendees being called off, public broadcaster YLE's English news page reports.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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