MP Gundars Daudze: Allowing vaccinated people to attend public events will motivate the undecided

Conversation with Saeima MP Gundars Daudze (Union of Greens and Farmers, Zaļo un Zemnieku Savienība).
31.05.2021. MKMāris Krautmanis
 
©Ģirts Ozoliņš/F64

It has finally been decided that from June 1, spectators will be able to watch the IIHF World Championship games in person. Isn't it great?

It is absolutely overdue. If the Saeima opposition had not made a decision on Thursday, May 21, together with a part of the coalition, which instructs the Cabinet of Ministers to immediately resolve the issue of admitting spectators to the arenas, fans could start attending these events in person only after the championship. In my opinion, "immediately" means right now - on Friday, on Tuesday at the latest, but it was decided to postpone it until the next Thursday. The Ministry of Education and Science had already drawn up rules - they talked about the vaccinated and those who had recovered, that all tickets would be personalized, there would be a distance between seats, no walking around, and so on. However, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (JV) did not put this issue on the agenda of the government meeting, which means that it was a deliberate action - that the Prime Minister does not want to move this issue at all. It is also the case that there will be no trust in paper documents, everything will happen electronically, but it is not known what will happen if the devices crash or freeze. What is happening can't be taken seriously. In any case, this was a reluctance on the part of the Prime Minister to think, to act.

I know that there are other politicians who say that allowing vaccinated and recovered people into the arena is segregation and discrimination, but I do not agree with that. Vaccines are now available. There are people who have been vaccinated. Vaccines are the only thing that makes you feel safe. If a vaccinated person becomes infected with Covid, the course of the disease is mild, without complications.

I have seen many Covid patients who are sent to the intensive care unit due to respiratory failure, their lungs are simply dying, and relatively young people pass away too. Doctors do their best, but nothing helps. Unlike other pneumonias, Covid is not only an inflammation of the alveoli of the lungs but also causes blood clots in the lung microvessels.

Being able to attend hockey games could be a very good motivation for those who can't decide whether to get vaccinated or not. People need to see that for vaccinated people life is easier, there are fewer restrictions. The hockey championship should be the first step towards that.

During the pandemic, people work from home, cannot attend events, we see that there is more irritability, more depression, burnout syndrome, fatigue, family disputes. Vaccination would solve this problem. Humans are social beings.

The next step should be to allow attending outdoor competitions - football, rugby, motocross, athletics.

When will the Saeima resume working in person?

It seems that the Cabinet of Ministers will soon resume working in person, and the Parliament has long needed to do the same. Parliament's remote work is much less efficient than when it was in person. Now everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated. Perhaps the work of the Saeima can be organized in such a way that we work for shorter periods of time with more frequent breaks so that the premises can be ventilated. Until now, there has been a 30-minute break in the Saeima after an hour and a half of work. The work of the Saeima could be organized in such a way that after 45 minutes of work there is a 15-minute break. In total, working hours would not change, but it would be more efficient and lively. Many things can be done if you have the desire. But doesn't seem that there is a desire to do anything.

The discussions that take place while looking at a computer screen are undoubtedly of much lower quality than face-to-face. In addition, the state of emergency is over.

In response to Belarus's actions to land a plane in Minsk and detain opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, Mayor of Riga Mārtiņš Staķis (Development/For!, Attīstībai/Par!), alongside the Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (New Unity, Jaunā Vienotība), has replaced the official Belarusian flag with the historical one used by the opposition. Was that a good thing?

What the Belarusian authorities did must not be allowed. This case of landing an Athens-Vilnius plane in Minsk does not meet international standards for the use of airspace. Even if there were suspicions of a bomb, Vilnius Airport was closer. The pilots cannot be blamed because they could not disobey the instructions of the Belarusians.

But the flags are another story. Each country has symbols - flag, anthem, coat of arms. Changing the flags in Riga is not a far-sighted step - it is pre-election populism.

Don't try to be a bigger Catholic than the Pope of Rome! The plane flew to Vilnius. So why isn't Vilnius replacing the flag?

Ryanair is owned by the Irish, but Ireland is a member of the European Union. However, it has not been heard that the Belarusian flag is being replaced there. Changing flags is a political mistake that can be understood, but not justified. Especially because the Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs (JV) took part in the change of flags, who should refrain from undiplomatic actions. This will undoubtedly have a negative impact on relations between the two countries, both diplomatic and economic.

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