Latvian gov't imposes harsh COVID-19 lockdown until mid-November

Published October 21, 2021, 6:07 AM

by Xinhua

RIGA, Latvia — At an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, the government of Latvia adopted a strict lockdown regulation, complete with a night-time curfew, that will be in force between Oct. 21 and Nov. 15, to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19.

People have their COVID-19 vaccination certificates checked before entering a shopping mall in Riga, Latvia, Oct. 11, 2021. (Photo by Janis Laizans/Xinhua)

The new restrictions will affect gatherings, public activities, retail trade, services, education and other in-person activities, the government said. The objective is to significantly reduce people-to-people contacts and to break the chain of COVID-19 transmissions.

People will be ordered to stay at home from 8 p.m. till 5 a.m. They will be allowed to leave their home for essential purposes only.

During the lockdown, all private and public gatherings, including meetings and demonstrations, will be banned and public transport will be operating at 50 percent passenger capacity.

Schools, colleges and universities will switch to distance learning and all extracurricular classes will be suspended until mid-November.

All non-essential services like entertainment, beauty care and leisure services will also be halted during the lockdown. Shopping centers and malls will close and only retailers selling essential goods like food, medicines, hygiene and telecommunications products and services will be allowed to open. Food delivery services will also be allowed during the lockdown.

Employees are urged to switch to teleworking where possible, while people with on-site jobs arrangements will be working limited hours.

Individuals breaching the lockdown rules will face fines of up to 2,000 euros (2,330 U.S. dollars), while fines for legal entities could reach 5,000 euros.

Latvia already declared a COVID-19 state of emergency on Oct. 11, but those measures have failed to sufficiently reduce in-person contacts and the infection rate has continued to grow.

Latvia reported a record 2,599 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while its cumulative two-week COVID-19 incidence rate grew to 1,400.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. (1 euro = 1.17 U.S. dollars)