Today, on 30 November, at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, amendments were made to Cabinet Order No. 720 Regarding Declaration of the Emergency Situation, specifying the conditions for performing Covid-19 tests at workplaces and entering Latvia, as well as wider opportunities for organising interest education and Christmas markets.

The amendments to the Order anticipate the opportunity for employers to ensure an epidemiologically safe workplace environment by testing all on-site workers with Covid-19 antigen tests. If the employer organises such testing, then it shall also develop procedures for the performance of testing, planning the course of testing, monitoring the quality of testing, recording of test results, as well as action in the case of a positive test. In the case of a positive test, the employee must be suspended from work and the other employees who have been in close contact with the person during the last 3 days (worked in the same room, performed work duties together, participated in a joint face-to-face meeting, etc.) are considered as contact persons. The employer must also identify the contact persons and either organise daily testing of contact persons, or the employee observes home quarantine. 

If the employer does not organise regular testing of employees, submission of the certifications of employees confirming that the employee has no signs of Covid-19, the employee is not required to observe home quarantine, self-isolation or has not been in close contact with an infected person, is organised just like the submission of certifications has been organised up to now.

Considering the fact that in recent days the new type of SARS-CoV-2 virus Omikron is gradually spreading in the world and also in European countries, in order to prevent the virus from entering the territory of Latvia as much as possible, it is planned that it will be possible to voluntarily take the state funded Covid-19 test at Riga Airport.

The amendments also envisage clarifying the procedure for acquiring interest education. It is stipulated that for children who have not been fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19, the acquisition of interest and vocational education programmes takes place remotely or in person, if the learners have taken a routine screening test in formal education - individually (or for learners living in the same household); for primary and secondary education students of the same group, class or course inside the same educational institution in person (i.e., at the school where formal education is acquired on a daily basis); if outside the school where formal education is obtained on a daily basis, only students up to 12 years of age may participate in person with a routine screening test. Students with a vaccination or recovery certificate are also entitled to participate in the above-mentioned educational programmes taking place in person outside their school. Pre-school learners are entitled to participate in interest and vocational education programmes remotely or on-site - individually (or learners living in the same household), including outside their pre-school, as well as in a group at their educational establishment, both indoors and outdoors. Camps for children may also be organised, with a maximum number of 20 participants per group.

The amendments also provide for the lifting of the ban on the organisation of street sales, thus allowing Christmas markets to be held in an epidemiologically safe environment.

Oskars Šneiders

Head of the Communication Department of the Ministry of Health

telephone: +371 67876008