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Failure to comply with Covid-19 restrictions could result in criminal liability in Latvia

BC, Riga, 01.12.2020.Print version
Failure to comply with Covid-19 restrictions could result in criminal liability, and the Defense Ministry could become involved in helping to control that these measures are being complied with, the chairman of the Saeima's Defense, Interior Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee Juris Rancans New Conservative Party) told Latvian Radio on December 1st, cites LETA.

The politician said that in a couple of weeks the Saeima's Criminal Law Subcommittee could start to revise the Criminal Law in order to provide for liability for those inciting others not to observe Covid-19 restrictions. It is planned that experts, police, prosecutors and courts will be involved in the discussion.

He added, however, that such an idea required extensive discussion and it was necessary to assess whether the situation was so serious that it was necessary to develop such a special norm.

On the other hand, when asked how to expand the control over the observance of Covid-19 restrictions, Rancans answered that it is insufficient at the moment, so it is time to ask for help from the Ministry of Defense.

"Perhaps patrols should be deployed on the streets. Police do not have enough people to conduct such patrols even the largest cities," Rancans concluded, adding that the Minister of the Interior Sandis Girgens (KPV LV) should turn to the Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks (For Development) to discuss this matter.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Development/For) said on Twitter that "this is not the right time to mobilize society with the help of a whip", and called the proposal on criminal liability for non-compliance with Covid-19 rules absurd and incompatible with principles of good governance. 

As of this Thursday, stricter Covid-19 rules will come into effect also in the regions of Kekava, Auce and Daugavpils, according to information released by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

The CDC posts the latest infection rate statistics on its website each Tuesday. More stringent Covid-19 rules are introduced in those municipalities where the 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population exceeds Latvia's average infection rate by 50%. The restrictions are applied to the list's newcomers as of Thursday, in this case, December 3.

As at November 30, Latvia's 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population was 335.4. Accordingly, Latvia's average infection rate was exceeded by 50% in those municipalities that over the past 14 days had recorded more than 503.1 cases per 100,000 population. 

The city of Daugavpils, as well as Varaklani, Salacgriva, Akniste, Marupe and Baldone regions feature on the list of most-affected municipalities since November 26.

The 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population now stands at 8,94.6 in Daugavpils, 1,668.8 in Varaklani, 1,438.8 in Salacgriva, 1,342.2 in Akniste, 644.8 in Marupe and 530.4 in Baldone region.

In Kekava region the 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population was 586.5, in Auce region 536.3 and in Daugavpils region 511.2.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases in the regions of Kraslava, Malpils, Smiltene, Garkalne, Limbazi and Salaspils no longer exceed that mark.

CDC representative Ilze Araja told LETA that currently the increased restrictions are effective in all the above municipalities until the end of the state of emergency regardless of whether their incidence rate has or has not dropped.

As reported, the proposed Covid-19 restrictions will be harsher than in spring, and the only difference from a full lockdown is closing stores during weekdays, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins told the press yesterday.

He said that the government and the Crisis Management Council will discuss the proposals on restrictions today.

"What I propose is a stricter regime than in spring. The only difference from a lockdown would be that all shops will be opened on weekdays," he said.

Karins said that Covid-19 in Latvia is spreading, and the government should view different sources of information in order to find the right solutions for the crisis.

LETA also reported, the state of emergency which has been introduced in Latvia over the Covid-19 pandemic might be prolonged until January 11. Government officials might propose even tougher restrictions on gatherings and a more extensive use of face masks.

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