Those returning to Latvia from abroad must observe self-isolation by staying home for a 14-day quarantine, according to Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital Department of Infection Control and Surveillance Director, Professor Uga Dumpis on March 16.
“This is a moment of national importance – it’s vital for all of these thousands to self-isolate. They have to sit at home for 14 days,” said Dumpis.
There will be a surge of hundreds, or even thousands of returning travelers due to the Latvian government’s decision to halt passenger transport, and some will definitely be infected. Although returning residents should even avoid contact with family members, they should also avoid seeking medical aid or testing unless they are exhibiting symptoms.
Dumpis said that Latvia is doing a good job of tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 in comparison to other countries. Currently Latvian epidemiologists are able to identify all of the infection cases as people returning from travel abroad or their family members.
“This moment is of absolute importance in the way in which we manage this large crowd of people,” said the infectologist.
As previously reported , Latvia will go into an effective national lockdown on Tuesday, March 17 when it closes its international borders to all organized passenger traffic on land, sea and air, following further anti-coronavirus measures announced March 14.
While organized passenger traffic such as buses, trains and airliners will be suspended at midnight on Monday night [00:00 Tuesday morning], the flow of goods will not be restricted to ensure shops can be restocked and services can be provided.
It will still be possible to travel within the European Union on a private basis (e.g. in a private car), as the right to free movement is enshrined in EU law, though leaving the country is not recommended at the moment. Latvia’s external EU border with Russia and Belarus will be shut to both organized public transport and private transport, however.