Latvia plans to extend state of emergency to April

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Riga's old town by night. Source: Pixabay

Latvia's government is likely to extend the country's state of emergency to April 6, public broadcaster LSM's English-language portal reports.

The Health Ministry in Latvia says that the current regulations should remain in place until such time as the 14-day coronavirus rate per 100,000 inhabitants falls below 200, LSM reports. Latvia's rate as of last Friday stood at 595.8 cases per 100,000.

The current state of emergency was set to expire on February 7, but the Latvian government agreed Tuesday to extend the regime by two months, to April 6, pending a final decision to be made Thursday.

Latvia's Health Ministry says that the country's epidemiological situation should be assessed every three weeks, with a view to reviewing the existing restrictions, however.

The cabinet also decided to ban direct travel to and from the U.K., Ireland and Portual, and to limit the scope for travel abroad to other locations, LSM reports.

At the same time, a recent TV report said that the Ministry of the Economy plans to ease restrictions on the retail sector, widening the range of bricks-and-mortar stores permitted to open and even providing scope for hairdressers and similar to open to the public. At the same time, these measures would require a degree of improvement on the epidemiological situation, however, the show reported.

In the meantime, the Latvian police have issued 900 proceedings on non-compliance with in-store mask-wearing requirements since early November, LSM reports.

Smaller stores may be only able to accommodate one customer at a time, if the restrictions are eased, since social distancing requirements will still be in place, while larger stores will be set to tracking and monitoring customer flow – with threat of temporary closure if regulations are flouted.

Arrivals in Latvia from Estonia must quarantine as things currently stand. More information is available on the Latvian government's coronavirus page here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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