The four-party Latvian government said on October 18 that plans for an almost month-long 'lockdown' or 'home-sitting' period in an effort to turn around the current grave COVID-19 infection rate were 'imminent'.
Speaking after a lengthy meeting of the Crisis Management Council on October 18, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said additional drastic measures were necessary as the situation had deteriorated even during the week since the last revisions were made to the epidemiological rules applying to society. The restrictions during lockdown will apply to the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.
Though the restrictions are agreed in principle among coalition partners they are still subject to revision at government meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday before coming into force on Thursday if approved.
Chief among the measures announced are: a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am, though people can travel to and from work if necessary outside these hours; between the specified dates, all stores, except those specifically excluded such as convenience stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, pet stores, and others carrying essential goods, will be closed, and only essential services will be available.
The current week of school holidays will be extended by another week. From November 1, grades 1-3 will return to school but grades 4-12 will be taught remotely from November 1 until November 15.
Gatherings indoors and outdoors including entertainment, sports, and cultural events will not be allowed.
Only people involved in production, construction and essential work will be able to work in person.
After November 15, it is planned to return to the "green mode" rules which are currently in force and which apply different rules to vaccinated and unvaccinated persons.
More details will be published as they become available. It is planned that aid mechanisms will be put in place for industries whose work is suspended during the period of restrictions.
With another 166 COVID-19 patients hospitalised and 110 discharged over October 18, the number of COVID-19 patients receiving hospital treatment in Latvia has grown to 1,134, the National Health Service reported on October 19. At present, 1,000 hospitalised COVID-19 patients are being treated for symptoms of medium severity and 134 patients are severe cases in the country.
To date, 16,379 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from Latvia's hospitals. According to the Health Ministry's information presented at the October 13 government meeting, Latvia's hospitals would reach oversaturation if the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients grew beyond 1,500.
Latvia confirmed 1,253 new COVID-19 cases and seven persons died of the coronavirus infection in the past 24 hours, according to information released by the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) on October 19.
As of the day, Latvia's cumulative 14-day number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population rose from 1,266.4 to 1,307.2, the highest figure ever recorded in Latvia.
In all, 9,393 persons were vaccinated against COVID-19 on October 18, according to the National Health Service.
According to vaccination data, up to and including 18 October, 1.03 million people in Latvia have received the first vaccine dose against COVID-19 or the single-dose vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson (J&J), while 941,000, or 50%, have completed the full vaccination course.