“Fighting Covid-19 around the world has led to huge demands for face masks, respirators, protective clothing, disinfectants and other personal protective equipment. It is important for us to ensure that both Latvian medical practitioners and all other people who need these goods are provided with them in necessary quantities, as well as in appropriate quality. We have already developed emergency solutions to significantly increase the production capacities of disinfectants. The government has just approved an emergency procedure to provide the persons involved in the elimination of the consequences of Covid-19 with medical devices and personal protective equipment in conditions of crisis,” emphasises the Minister of Economics Jānis Vitenbergs.
“We have developed aid instruments and have simplified the procedure to enable Latvian businessmen to produce the necessary personal protective equipment which is needed right now. We have granted EUR 200,000 for the certification of these goods. In the current active dialogue with economic operators, we look at every opportunity to increase the production capacities of personal protective equipment. We should be convinced that the protective equipment produced in Latvia will fulfil its functions and will effectively ensure the necessary protection at a high level,” continues the Minister.
Order No.103 of the Cabinet of Ministers “Regarding the announcement of the emergency situation” includes an emergency procedure to provide the persons involved in the elimination of the consequences of COVID-19 with medical devices and personal protective equipment in conditions of the COVID-19 crisis. The order provides that in procurements organised by public persons it will be possible to purchase personal protective equipment and medical devices for which the conformity assessment procedure has not been initiated or fully completed and which are not marked with the CE marking, provided that all of the following conditions are met:
- the goods were manufactured in accordance with applicable European standards or technical specifications recognised by the World Health Organization which ensure an appropriate level of safety as the applicable European standards;
- on the basis of the evidence submitted by economic operators, the Consumer Rights Protection Centre has recognised the conformity of these goods if it is personal protective equipment or the Health Inspectorate – if these are medical devices;
- the goods are purchased to limit the COVID-19 virus and prevent it from spreading further, and these goods are not traded.
At the same time, the government supported the proposal of the Ministry of Economics to reallocate 200,000 euros for support to companies for the conformity assessment of production facilities and products, including covering the costs of certification of face masks. Support to businesses will be provided in the form of grants covering up to 80% of the total cost of certification. Support will be provided by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia assessing the costs of economic operators for the performance of certification starting from 01.03.2020.
The Director of the Consumer Rights Protection Centre Baiba Vītoliņa points out: “In the current situation, where there is an acute need for certain personal protective equipment in the country, changes have been made to simplify the conformity assessment procedure for manufacturers. Businesses will be able to apply condensed version of the standard for testing and to apply standards of other countries recognised by the World Health Organization, and they will not have to take certain administrative action – the affixing of the CE marking and the preparation of the declaration. At the same time, however, despite the simplified procedure, the goods must comply with the safety requirements and provide the intended protection. CRPC emphasises that the shortened process applies only to goods which will be purchased in public procurement for the liquidation of the consequences of Covid-19; such goods cannot be placed on the market.”
As it is known, the Prime Minister instructed the Ministry of Economics to evaluate the possibility of ensuring the conformity assessment of personal protective equipment and medical devices manufactured in Latvia in an accelerated and simplified procedure and to perform all the necessary activities related to the commencement of the production of personal protective equipment in Latvia, setting as a priority the commencement of production of surgical masks with a view to securing the needs of the local market.