Latvian prime minister: Latvia ready to help treat Estonian covid patients

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Latvian prime minister Krišjanis Karinš. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said on Tuesday that Latvia is ready to offer support to help treat hospitalized Estonian coronavirus patients.

Karins wrote on Twitter: "In these difficult times we need to stand together."

He said Latvia supports its northern neighbor in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic: "You are not alone!"   

Delfi reported that Karins said at a crisis council meeting on Tuesday that Latvia currently has more capacity than Estonia in its hospitals: "Because we currently have more Covid-19 beds than the number of patients. I think we should offer them help".

Postimees reported that Urmas Sule, the Emergency Medicine Director of the Health Board, thanked Latvia for the "beautiful gesture" but said Estonia does not yet need to send patients to Latvia and it would logistically be very difficult to do so.

Sule added that he had great respect for the Latvian government for making such an offer.

On Monday, new lockdown rules were announced in Estonia which will come into effect on Thursday (March 11).

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said the reason for the additional restrictions is because Estonian hospitals and the medical system are "in crisis".

"The fresh data shows that the more aggressive British variant of the coronavirus is spreading more seriously in Estonia than previously predicted. Our medical system is in a crisis," said she said in a statement on Monday.

"The situation is particularly critical in Tallinn and Northern Estonia where the hospitals' ability to cope has come under tremendous pressure, but the situation is difficult all over Estonia."

Latvia's coronavirus infection rate has fallen in recent weeks, but President Egils Levits has been critical of the government's response.

ERR News asked the Latvian Prime Minister's Office if the proposal had been made officially and what help could be offered.

A spokesperson said: "Latvia solidarizes with Estonia in its fight against the pandemic and would be ready to support our northern neighbors by providing treatment to Covid-19 patients who would require hospitalization. The possibility to support Estonia, if need arises, has been communicated by Prime Minister, Ministers of Health and Foreign Affairs through appropriate channels."

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Editor: Helen Wright

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