Since mid-July , all persons entering Latvia must complete written surveys. An electronic recording system is expected at the beginning of October, Interior Ministry representatives told Latvian Radio September 3.
In order to track the spread of COVID-19, arrivals complete questionnaires distributed by international passenger carriers. Then through the border guard, the stack of papers comes either to the State Police (if the persons have to comply with self-isolation) or to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SPKC).
In mid-July, an electronic system was promised in a couple of weeks. There are countries where it has been introduced a month ago. Janis Dreimanis, representative of the Information Center of the Ministry of Interior, explained that the time of development itself is relatively short – four weeks.
In Latvia, the process is slow because developers needed to identify the interests of all the services involved so that the system was more efficient.
“The end of September, early October – the system has to start operating already. A website will be created where persons will have to fill out a statement: name, countries entered, place of residence where self-isolation would be observed,” Dreimanis said.
Electronic questionnaires will be available in Latvian, Russian and English. In 30 days, they will be deleted and will only be stored in an aggregated way.
The Ministry of Interior has estimated a maximum of EUR 37 000 for the new system. However, it will not be entirely possible to verify whether persons will complete these questionnaires. It is the responsibility of the arrivals themselves.
“In the end, it is the responsibility of the traveler to complete these questionnaires. It would be impossible to control the entire population of all countries. Of course, an e-mail check will be scheduled, where you need to provide e-mail, and only then can you continue filling out these questionnaires. Of course, in this sense, it is not a complete inspection,” the Ministry’s representative said.
The Center for Disease Prevention and Control has received 133 000 paper questionnaires so far, but only about ten of them have been used. SPKC spokeswoman Ilze Arāja pointed out that epidemiologists are in primary contact with the infected person when conducting an investigation. Questionnaires are only auxiliary.