Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Latvia extend state of emergency to May 12 in effort to stem spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This alert affects Latvia

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 10:11 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventive restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Latvia announced an extension of the state of emergency until at least May 12 in order to support efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The state of emergency was initially declared March 14-April 14. In connection with the extension of the state of emergency, authorities will restart international repatriation flights in the coming days. All residents of Latvia returning from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days.

Authorities previously suspended international travel via land, sea, and air from March 17. The prohibition does not apply to the transport of goods or permanent residents of Latvia. The restrictions do not impact leaving the country; however, disruptions on cross-border/international travel are highly likely given ongoing health screenings. Public gatherings are prohibited. The prohibition extends to political gatherings, recreational activities, and cultural events. Educational facilities are closed, and educational institutions must provide training remotely. Officials may amend health and travel measures in the coming weeks in response to government threat assessments.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar 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.

Advice
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.

Resources
Latvia Government: www.mk.gov.lv

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int