Lockdown Reimposed in European Country

Latvia has one of EU's lowest vaccination rates
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2021 1:41 PM CDT
Lockdown Reimposed in European Country
Vladimir Putin has ordered the country's workers to stay off work for a week starting later this month amid rising coronavirus infection and death numbers.   (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

With one of the highest rates of COVID infection in the world and one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, Latvia has returned to lockdown. Authorities announced a monthlong lockdown after a recent surge in cases, making the Baltic state the first European country to reimpose tough mitigation measures, the Guardian reports. According to European Union figures, around 57% of adults in Latvia have been fully vaccinated, well below the EU average of 74%, reports Reuters.

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said Monday that vaccination is the only way out of the crisis. "I have to apologize to the already vaccinated," he said after the lockdown was announced. Schools and nonessential stores will be shut down and and there is a curfew in place from 8pm to 5am. The country's president, Egils Levits, tested positive last week. Authorities in Latvia say vaccination rates across the country have been very uneven, with a rate of under 25% in some areas, the Guardian reports.

Latvian health minister Daniels Pavluts has accused Russian-language media of spreading vaccine disinformation among the country's Russian speakers. Russia itself is also dealing with a surge in COVID cases. Bloomberg reports that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has ordered unvaccinated seniors to stay home for the next few months. On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin ordered most workers to stay off work for a week starting Oct. 30, the AP reports. Only around a third of Russians are fully vaccinated. (More COVID-19 stories.)

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