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Latvia to close borders to stop virus from spreading

FILE PHOTO: Latvia's Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins arrives for the second day of the European Union leaders summit, held to discuss the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

RIGA (Reuters) - Latvia will stop nearly all foreigners entering the country from Tuesday in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the country’s prime minister said on Saturday.

All international travel, by air, railway, sea and road, will be cancelled from midnight on Monday, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said at a news conference. In addition, all public gatherings of over 50 people are banned with immediate effect, he said.

“The main aim is to do everything possible to avoid more people becoming ill with coronavirus,” Karins said.

Latvians and foreigners with residency rights in Latvia will be able to enter the country, and tourists will be able to leave after the deadline, he said.

Latvia has confirmed 26 cases of coronavirus, with no deaths.

Reporting by Gederts Gelzis; Writing by Johan Ahlander; Editing by James Drummond