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One Latvian citizen has expressed wish to return home from Wuhan.

RIGA, Jan 28 (LETA) - A Latvian citizen has expressed the wish to return to Latvia from the Chinese city of Wuhan from where the new coronavirus epidemic is currently spreading, Foreign Ministry representative Guna Japina told members of the Seima Social and Labor Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

She said that the Foreign Ministry is working with French authorities to arrange the Latvian citizen's repatriation.

Japina said that a total of 67 Latvians have declared themselves as residents of China and eight people have registered for a trip to China.

As reported, in case the new coronavirus which is currently spreading in China reaches Latvia, adult patients will be taken to Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital (Eastern Hospital, RAKUS) and kids to Children's Clinical University Hospital (BKUS), Liene Cipule, head of the Emergency Medical Service, told members of the Saeima Social and Labor Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

Latvia's regional hospitals, meanwhile, have been advised to stock up on additional protective materials, which will be provided in a week, Cipule said.

Cipule said that although there are still safety measures to be taken, it is clear that all the university hospitals are fully prepared for cases of coronavirus.

"Most importantly, it would be necessary to detect the first case," Cipule said. Jurijs Perevoscikovs, head of disease risk analysis and prevention department at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, explained to lawmakers that in the event someone falls ill with the infection, it would be necessary to establish all the patients' contacts, including with people who might not be relatives or close persons to the patient.

While the virus has not yet reached Latvia, the Emergency Medical Service will be coordinating prevention efforts and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control has been tasked with informing the public, government and private organizations. Perevoscikovs confirmed that medical staff and institutions are informed about the safety measures that have to taken if the virus is found in Latvia.

According to the current procedure, if a patient seeks medical assistance for a respiratory infection and it is established that the person has been to Wuhan in China, control measures are launched, Perevoscikovs. Patients who test positive for the virus would be hospitalized and isolated, the cases would be reported to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. RAKUS has been tasked with running lab tests and treating the coronavirus patients.

RAKUS representative Angelika Krumina reassured lawmakers that the hospital is "absolutely ready" to take isolation measures and carry out laboratory tests. The hospital is also ready for an increased inflow of patients. Staff have been provided with individual protection materials.

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Publication:LETA
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jan 28, 2020
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