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WHO: timely and decisive decisions allowed Latvia significantly reduce the number of Covid-19 infections

BC, Riga, 26.08.2020.Print version
Timely and decisive decisions made by the government allowed Latvia to significantly reduce the number of Covid-19 infections, the Special Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe, Dr Michel Thieren, told LETA.

There are three factors here, according to Thieren. The first is public confidence in politicians, because with the advent of Covid-19, people realized that something was really going on and they trusted the government, he said. Also, as the WHO representative points out, in Latvia the government is united and all ministers are involved in decision-making.

"It should also be noted here that Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) has managed to strengthen the unity of the Cabinet of Ministers, which has resulted in an increased trust in the government by the public," the WHO spokesman explained.

At the same time, the government also has more trust in society, which means that mutual trust has developed between decision-makers and residents, Thieren is convinced.

At the same time, thanks to the approach of the Karins government, decisions are based on expert opinions and statistics. "Although it is a very delicate approach, it worked in the case of Latvia," Thieren added.

Therefore, now, according to the expert, when deciding on how schools should re-open for the school year for example, the government does not have to waste time reaching a consensus or convincing the public.

''During a pandemic, decision making plays a crucial role,'' Thieren said, adding that even a few extra days for a decision to be made could be decisive and that the three above mentioned factors allow for governments to make decisions about three times faster.

Taking this into account, Latvia managed to reduce the number of infections by almost half compared to countries with similar conditions, said Thieren.

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