Latvia to impose lockdown over COVID-19 spike

A protestor holds a sign reading “My body, my choice” during a demonstration against “compulsory” vaccination in Riga, Latvia on August 18, 2021. – More than 5,000 people gathered in the Latvian capital Riga on Wednesday to demonstrate against coronavirus restrictions and government plans to make vaccines obligatory for many workers. (Photo by Gints Ivuskans / AFP)

RIGA — Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said on Monday that the Baltic state will go into lockdown for a month due to surging coronavirus infections and a poor vaccination rate.

“I apologize to those who have already been vaccinated, but the restrictions will apply to everyone,” Karins told reporters after a 10-hour cabinet meeting.


“There are still too many unvaccinated people who get infected with Covid and die in the hospital,” he added.


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The lockdown is due to last from Thursday to November 15 and will feature an 8 pm to 5 am curfew, shuttered salons, cinemas, theaters and concert venues as well as a takeout-only policy at restaurants.

Only stores selling food and other essentials will remain open, while most people will be required to work remotely, with the exception of those in construction, transportation and other fields with jobs that cannot be performed off-site.

Schools will also switch to remote learning, though children in kindergarten and the first three elementary grades will continue to attend lessons in person.

The measures are still subject to change at a final cabinet meeting on Tuesday, as well as during a parliamentary session on Wednesday before the official vote.

Of the country’s 1.9 million people, less than half have received both doses of the Covid vaccine, leading infection rates to soar over the past month.

Each day over the past week has brought record infection numbers, with 1,253 new cases and seven deaths from Covid reported on Monday.

That brings the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 186,869 and the total death toll to 2,897.

Hospitals throughout the country have stopped treating people with cancer and other diseases, focusing only on Covid patients requiring intensive care.

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