Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Latvia to ease some COVID-19-related restrictions starting May 12, extend state of emergency to June 9.

This alert affects Latvia

This alert began 08 May 2020 22:38 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventive restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June 9
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Authorities in Latvia plan to ease some of the restrictions the nation had been imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) starting May 12, while extending the existing state of emergency through at least June 9. The following measures will enter into effect on May 12:

  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 25 persons will be allowed, with organizers being responsible for enforcing social distancing standards.
  • Sports training will be allowed to resume.
  • Organized tourism services for travel in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia will be allowed to resume.
  • Returning Latvian nationals will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Face masks will remain mandatory on public transport.

Authorities suspended incoming international land, sea, and air travel as of March 17. The prohibition does not apply to the transport of goods or permanent residents of Latvia. Educational institutions remain closed, with lessons being provided via distance learning techniques.

Authorities may extend or otherwise amend COVID-19-related restrictions in the coming days, depending on disease activity.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Postpone travel if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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