Latvia today declared a three-month state of emergency following the resurgence of record-breaking Covid-19 cases, as vaccination remains at one of the lowest rates in the EU.
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The number of daily infections now stands at over 1,000 in this Baltic country with a population of 1.9 million, a rate of pandemic spread higher than recorded earlier this year.
Under the new rules, the use of a mask becomes mandatory in all buildings that are open to the public and every public sector worker must be vaccinated by November 15th.
People who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to enter supermarkets and only stores that are deemed necessary will be allowed to open on weekends.
All Latvians are encouraged to telework as much as possible.
“I urge you not to gather, not to visit and to reduce your physical contact,” Prime Minister Christian Carins wrote on twitter.
Hospitals in Latvia are flooded with patients with Covid.
“We were forced not to accept other patients who have diagnoses that are not life-threatening. “Emergency medical teams can not even answer all the calls,” Carlisle Rasenis, head of the Young Doctors Association, told a news conference earlier.
Only 48% of Latvians are fully vaccinated against the disease, one of the lowest vaccination rates in the European Union after Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.