At the June 16, 2020, Dr. Nina Linde, Director of the Institute of Economics of LAS has participated as a panelist in the Online Expert Seminar: “Latvia’s perspectives on pandemic: economic recovery and the future of EU policy”, organized by Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM). The other participants of the seminar were Mrs. Alise Balode, Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative of Latvia to the EU, Kinga Ras, chief expert on the Baltic countries from Polish Institute and Lukasz Jurczyszyn, Director of Brussels Office of PISM.
During the panel discussion Dr. Linde gave a presentation on Latvia’s key experience in fighting the virus. Among the Baltic states, Latvia recorded the lowest number of virus infections and introduced the weakest restrictions. At the same time the country quickly decided on an important recovery package to stabilize the country’s economic situation.
The Institute of Economics put forward 4 key success factors that has led Latvia to having one of the lowest cases of COVID-19 per 100 000 residents in Europe.
1) Fast-paced government response to the outbreak in Latvia by enforcing the emergency situation and announcing all the restrictions that came with it.
The emergency situation in Latvia was declared on 12th March of 2020, when the overall detected cases had not even reached the number of 30. Latvia did so at a time when many other European countries were still at the decision-making and assessment process.
2) High level of professional of doctors and medical personnel in Latvia who are able to work with full dedication.
The role of science is one of the key aspects in the decision-making for any crisis management. During the Covid-19 crisis the Latvian government has treated scientists and medical experts with great respect, following their recommendations and taking in account carefully instructions of the professionals in field of medicine before making political decisions. This has led to science-based solutions, and partly controlled outbreak of the virus since most of the Covid-19 cases have reported trackable.
3) High level of legal awareness among Latvian residents.
The Latvian population is very law-abiding and follows the restrictions and recommendations of doctors and government. Most of society was following self-isolation rules and observing a 2 m distance; very few violations of restrictions were recorded.
4) Natural social isolation.
Relatively small population is dispersed through the country, so it allowed to avoid the spread of the virus in regions outside of Riga and remote areas.
The seminar was a part of the whole series of debates on the COVID-19 crisis in Central and Eastern Europe.