Latvia braces for third COVID-19 wave as vaccine rollout falters

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 27, 2021
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RIGA, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- While Latvia is still struggling to cope with persistently high COVID-19 incidence and a slowdown in its vaccine rollout, epidemiologists and officials are warning about a looming third wave of coronavirus infections.

Jurijs Perevoscikovs, a senior epidemiologist at the Latvian Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), informed on Friday that after several weeks of gradual improvement, in the past seven days the number of COVID-19 cases have been on the rise again.

Liene Cipule, head of the Emergency Medical Service, said on Twitter that the third COVID-19 wave is expected to hit Latvia in the next two to four weeks. She also warned that by Easter, bed saturation in Latvia's hospitals can be twice as high as during the Christmas holidays.

At an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday, Health Minister Daniels Pavluts told ministers that in order to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed, the government will probably have to decide on imposing new restrictions on services and the movement of people.

He called on the ministers to agree on a clear and coherent action plan in preparation for the third coronavirus wave. The health minister also informed that work is under way to improve the quality and capacity of testing and sequencing so that outbreaks of new COVID-19 variants can be detected as quickly as possible.

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins warned the government that the next four weeks are going to be extremely challenging, especially because delays in vaccine deliveries are impeding the planned immunization of the population.

"The social and psychological pressure is huge, let alone the economic pressure," he said. Enditem

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