Latvia to police New Year curfew amid rising COVID infections

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Latvian police and border guards will patrol the streets to enforce a New Year’s night curfew aimed at preventing large crowds gathering as coronavirus infections rise.

The curfew will last through the weekend and also cover the Orthodox Christmas holidays a week later, widely celebrated in the nation of 1.9 million.

More than 2,000 police, reinforced by border guards and the National Guard, will patrol streets during the curfew hours, when leaving home will only be permitted for medical emergencies or for work.

“The curfew will help prevent a total disaster,” President Egils Levits told public radio.

He said contacts between people over the Christmas were the reason why Latvia and its Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania all reported record numbers of COVID-19 infections on Thursday.

Latvia and Estonia were the 12th and 11th worst-hit countries in the European Union, with around 580 new cases per 100,000 people, over the two weeks ending on Sunday.

Main Photo: People walk along the river Daugava in Riga, Latvia, during sunset on 30 December 2020. In order to curb the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 disease, the Latvian government decided on 30 December to extend the state of emergency in the country 07 February 2021. EPA-EFE/Toms Kalnins