Coronavirus: officials urge public to consider necessity of trips

The results of the latest batch of COVID-19 coronavirus tests will be published later than usual on Tuesday, due to the increasing numbers of tests being carried out, the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) said March 10.

Previously data on test results was released early in the morning, but now will be released three hours later at 10:00.

There were also signs that officials tackling the spread of coronavirus were exasperated by the attitudes of some members of the public who are continuing to travel to risky destinations despite the chance of infection.

Uga Dumpis, an infectologist at Rīga Stradiņš University who has been among the public faces of the coronavirus response team in Latvia wrote  on Twitter   that mass testing of the population would not help if people “ignore the recommendations on measures to take after their return” from areas with widespread infection and that no public body can follow each indvidual on their journeys, calling for society as a whole to regard coronavirus as a priority.

As previously reported, officials from the prime minister down have asked members of the public to postpone or cancel all but the most essential trips to areas of widespread infection. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a list of countries where this might apply and has updated its travel advice on the following countries: USA, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Egypt, France, Greece, Iraq, Iceland, Canada, Kuwait, Great Britain, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Germany, Sweden.

In addition there are six countries to which travel is strongly advised against: Japan, South Korea, China, Italy, Iran and Singapore.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also told the public that while consular assistance was available as usual, Latvia could not pay compensation for cancelled flights or bookings, this being an issue for travel insurance.

Next week there will be school holidays in Latvia, a fact which Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said was of particular concern:

“In order to limit the further spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the most important thing now is the individual responsibility of each person to follow the recommendations of the responsible services. It is strongly advised not to visit six countries – Japan, Korea, China, Italy, Iran and Singapore – due to the spread of the disease, while with 17 countries worldwide it is advised to assess the need for travel. I urge every Latvian citizen, every parent, to follow the recommendations of the responsible services and act responsibly in view of the upcoming school holidays,” said Kariņš.


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