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|2020 coronavirus pandemic in Latvia|
|First outbreak||Wuhan, China|
|Arrival date||2 March 2020 |
|Recovered||~30 (31 March)|
The government closed all educational institutions and banned mass gatherings from 13 March until 14 April. Many concerts and events were cancelled and moved to other dates. As of 20 March at least 1,600 culture and entertainment events had been disrupted.
On 31 January 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia updated their travel advice, calling on travellers not to travel to Hubei and assess the need to travel to China in general. It also recommended everyone returning from China and experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus infection to seek medical advice and information about their travel and contacts.
On 3 February a Latvian citizen living in Wuhan was evacuated with a French government plane and taken to Paris, where she was quarantined for 14 days before being allowed to depart to Riga. On 11 February, Latvia donated protective clothing, masks, respirators and other epidemic prevention and control supplies to China.
On 27 February, Estonia confirmed the first COVID-19 case, an Iranian citizen fell ill on board a bus from Riga to Tallinn and called himself an ambulance from Tallinn bus station. He had originally departed from Iran, and flown from Turkey to Riga, spending at least 2.5 hours in Riga and using public transport. By 2 March, 114 people had been tested for COVID-19, all tests coming out negative.
On 2 March the Latvian Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Latvia. The infected person was a woman who had flown from Milan to Riga through Munich. The day after her condition had improved considerably and a repeated test came out negative she was discharged from the Latvian Center of Infectious Diseases with instructions to remain in self-insolation for 14 days. The same day the Latvian government allocated an additional 2.6 million euros to the Ministry of Health for various anti-coronavirus measures. Minister of Health Ilze Viņķele rated country's preparedness for coronavirus 8 out of 10.
On 8 March the Latvian Centre for Disease Prevention and Control confirmed that a second patient in Latvia had tested positive for COVID-19, and had since been taken to the Infectious Disease Centre of the Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital. As reported, Latvia's second COVID-19 case was a woman who had returned from a skiing resort in Cervinia on a Milan-Riga flight on Saturday, 7 March. By that date, Latvian authorities had tested 222 people.
On 9 March, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Latvia had risen to six. All of the infected people had recently returned from Northern Italy. The following day the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Latvia had risen to eight. Both people had returned from Italy. Since 29 February, a total of 274 tests had been carried out.
On 12 March, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš announced that the government had declared a state of emergency and that starting 13 March and until 14 April large public gatherings with over 200 people were banned and schools would conduct distance learning, along with other safety recommendations.
On 13 March, the government announced a billion euro support for businesses affected by coronavirus provided as "financial instruments" (such as tax holidays or sick leave pay) via the state-owned ALTUM development bank. Minister of Finance Jānis Reirs stated that Latvia was in a good financial position compared to the 2008 financial crisis. Minister of Agriculture Kaspars Gerhards explained that no food shortages were expected and that internal food production could more than satisfy the population's needs.
A list of emergency measures took effect on 14 March. On 14 March, Kariņš announced that starting 17 March international travel would be halted, however, this would not affect private travel within the European Union, returning citizens or flow of goods. Furthermore, organised public events are banned and other gatherings may not exceed 50 participants. On 16 March, the Latvian State Police carried out 376 checks and recorded 14 instances of COVID-19 emergency measure violations.
On the 16 March, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 60,
On 17 March, the number of cases had grown to 71, including the first child diagnosed with COVID-19. Viņķele reported that currently there are 120 infectology beds available for COVID-19 patients, but the number could be increased to 400 by reorganization and ultimately pushed to a maximum of 1,000 beds. In preparation of a possible COVID-19 patient influx most of the hospitals began reducing or stopping most unrelated scheduled and outpatient treatment, with the exception of critical operations.
On 19 March, the Head doctor of Infectology Centre of Latvia Baiba Rozentāle stressed the importance of people repatriating from foreign countries to remain in self-isolation and warned that even though the situation with COVID-19 in Latvia is stable at the moment it may be "quiet before the storm". At 21:00, a country-wide "Sakām Paldies" ("Say Thanks") flashmob took place, where people from their windows applauded and thanked the medics, police, teachers, pharmacists, salespeople, news journalists and everyone else working during the pandemic.
On 20 March, the Saeima independent deputy Artuss Kaimiņš revealed on Twitter he had tested positive for COVID-19, apologising to everyone he had met on 15 and 16 March and urging them to get tested. After that other members of the parliament and ministers that were in contact with Kaimiņš underwent testing.
On 25 March, 24 additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, raising the total to 221. Among them was a NATO soldier serving in Latvia. Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Infectious Disease Risk Analysis and Prevention Department director Jurijs Perevoščikovs also reported the first COVID-19 patients with no clear epidemiological links to any other infection cases or trips abroad, pointing to the start of COVID-19 transmission within the Latvian society. 25 March was also the day when the National Library of Latvia opened up online access to their newspaper and magazine archive until 14 April.
On 29 March, the government adopted a number of stricter regulations. Foremost, all persons must maintain a 2-meter distance and observe epidemiological safety measures in private and public events, as well as during public indoor and outdoor activities. The exception is given for 2 persons, persons living in the same household or parents and their minor children if they don't live in the same household. New restrictions also prohibit all private arrangements (except funerals), public events, meetings, processions, pickets, indoor sports and religious activities. Trading and public catering venues are still allowed to hold more persons while maintaining the 2-meter distance and observing safety measures. Various other are also adopted, such as prioritization of medical item supply for national purposes or government's right to request information from electronic communications operators on specific persons for epidemiological investigation.
Professor Uga Dumpis from Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital stated that the majority of the cases have been those who returned from abroad, that new cases with no connection to other patients is worrying, but that the number of these cases remains very low and that "the infection is somewhat controlled". He did not support additional restrictive measures explaining that this leads "serious psychosocial consequences and exacerbates other illnesses" and that to contain the spread of the disease, the majority of society ought to follow the current restrictions. Medical staff at the Stradiņš hospital made a video urging members of the public to adopt a socially responsible attitude and stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
|2020-03-04||1||1||17||170||||Number of new tested does not sum to total tested reported (1 missing)|
|2020-03-17||22||71||1||604||2,144||||Number of new tested does not sum to total tested reported (2 missing)|
|2020-03-24||24||221||1||1,151||9,796||||Number of people tested includes those who paid for the test themselves, not government sponsored from 25 March|
|2020-03-31||48||446||~30||1003||15,810||||The number of recoveries is an estimate and not based on testing|