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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 22.09.2020, 05:34

Vinkele: Latvia should not raise self-quarantine threshold

BC, Riga, 15.09.2020.Print version
Latvia should not increase the self-quarantine threshold from 16 to 25 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for persons arriving from abroad, this position was expressed this morning by Latvian Minister of Health Ilze Vinkele (For Development), cites LETA.

The minister reminded that at the instigation of the Ministry of Economics, this issue has already been discussed within the government, but most ministers did not support the changes, and the politician hopes that Latvia will not have to raise this indicator in the future.

Explaining her position, the politician emphasized that the decision is between two scales - one is the hospitality sector, which accounts for about 2.5% of the country's gross domestic product, and the other - the possibility of free movement within the country. Vinkele believes that the scale in this case tends to favor the second choice.

Vinkele admitted that the pressure to make changes is significant, including from Latvia's neighbors, however, the question of why Latvia should risk the possible infection of its residents with Covid-19 is still relevant. If a neighbor's house burns down, it is unlikely that you will reduce the safety requirements in your house, the politician said.

The minister emphasized that increasing this threshold would increase the risk of infection with Covid-19 within society, which in turn could lead to the introduction of various restrictions within the country, which would be "much more traumatic for the economy".

Instead, the Ministry of Health will present a proposal to the government today to reduce the term of self-quarantine from 14 to 10 days.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sandis Girgens (KPV LV) is of the opposite opinion, who believes that the threshold should be increased from 16 to 25, as every effort should be made to stimulate the economy and state income in order to prevent the disproportionate growth of public debt and its servicing costs.

''I do not dispute that there is a Covid-19, but there are alternative solutions - to require the use of masks, to perform tests at the border or to demand the results of Covid-19 tests performed upon entry to the country,'' the minister said.

Girgens repeatedly noted that the workload of the State Police in controlling the observance of Covid-19 self-isolation regulations has increased significantly.

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