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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 23.09.2020, 16:10

Coalition supports stricter control of incoming travelers in Latvia amid ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

BC, Riga, 14.07.2020.Print version
The government coalition today supported the proposal to increase the control of people arriving in Latvia from foreign countries amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told journalists LETA.

The prime minister voiced concerns about the negative impact a new Covid-19 outbreak might leave on the Latvian economy, indicated that coalition partners therefore discussed arrivals from foreign countries and incoming travelers' attitude to epidemiological requirements as one of the factors that might trigger a spike in coronavirus cases.

In Karins' words, the coalition partners discussed strengthening Latvia's external borders in order to identify all persons arriving in the country. The prime minister noted that the Baltic states have problems sharing information about arrivals from third countries. 

Karins said that concrete measures aimed at enhancing the control of foreigners arriving in Latvia will be proposed at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting. At the same time, the prime minister mentioned two possible solutions - the neighbor countries might provide information about the situation on their shared borders or the European Union might resume surveys of incoming travelers on its borders. "We need information on each arriving person," Karins said.

The prime minister said that today the coalition did not discuss specific countries whose nationals might be subjected to increased controls in Latvia, as information about the countries most affected by Covid-19 is available on the website of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). The coalition also did not consider concrete sanctions that might be imposed on persons for flouting Latvia's Covid-19 rules. 

MP Daniels Pavluts (For Development/For) also indicated that travelers from foreign countries are currently posing the main infection risk and voiced support for the proposal to strengthen border controls and police patrols.

MP Janis Dombrava (National Alliance) added that Latvia reopened its border too fast, which resulted in too many people who provide little information about themselves arriving in Latvia. Many of them have brought Covid-19 into Latvia, Dombrava said. 

Dombrava also called for surveying incoming travelers and revoking residence permits for those who ignore the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Latvia. 

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