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17 January, 2022
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Latvia declares state of emergency due to explosive spread of the coronavirus

Vaccination rates one of the lowest in the EU

Source: CNA

Authorities in Latvia have declared a state of emergency for three months due to the resurgence of record-breaking new coronavirus infections, while COVID-19 vaccination rates remain among the lowest in the European Union.

The number of confirmed cases on a daily basis is now well over a thousand in the Baltic country of 1.9 million inhabitants and the rate of spread of the virus is higher than at any other time this year.

The new rules stipulate that the mask will become mandatory in all areas that welcome the public. All public sector employees are required to have been vaccinated by November 15th.

The unvaccinated will not be able to buy food and other necessities except from the shops that will be indicated to them, while only commercial businesses that are deemed absolutely necessary to operate will be allowed to open on weekends.

Authorities have urged citizens to telework, if possible.

"I urge you not to congregate, not to visit and to reduce your contacts," Prime Minister Christian Karins said via Twitter.

Latvian hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19 patients.

"We are obliged to deny (admission to hospitalization) to other patients whose lives are not in danger. Emergency medical teams can not even answer all the calls," said Carlisle Rasenis, head of the Young Doctors Association.

Only 48% of Latvians have been fully vaccinated. This is one of the lowest rates in the EU.  Only Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia ranks lower than Latvia in vaccination rates.

The COVID-19 death toll in the Baltic state has so far risen to more than 3,300 out of a total of 220,000 or more COVID infections, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.


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