Health Board: Risk of contracting coronavirus in Estonia is very low

Health Board adviser Irina Dontšenko.
Health Board adviser Irina Dontšenko. Source: ERR

The risk of contracting coronavirus in Estonia is very low, the Health Board said on Friday, but recommends travelers to and from China monitor their health closely for two weeks.

As of Friday, the number of new coronavirus cases reported in the city of Wuhan, China has risen to nearly 900 and 15 health professionals are among those affected. There have been 26 deaths due to the virus, all among the elderly who already have chronic diseases. All fatalities have been registered in China, ETV's "Aktuaalne Kaamera" (AK) reported.

Outside of China, 19 people have contracted the disease in nine countries, all of whom had visited Wuhan.

Health Board adviser Irina Dontšenko told AK: "The coronavirus has been known since 1965 and is an animal virus, an animal disease. There are a total of 37 coronavirus strains and six of them are transmitted from animals to humans and this is now the seventh new coronavirus."

Julia Snegova, an Estonian citizen from Kohtla-Järve, lives and studies in Kaifeng, 500 kilometers from Wuhan. She spoke to AK about the situation in her city. She said information is being distributed to students through an app.

Snegova said the news about the virus hasn't changed much in the city but more people are wearing masks. She said there were fewer people moving around on the streets but said this could be because many people have traveled home for Lunar New Year.

"Of course, it is possible that some people are afraid to go outside because we are advised not to go out, to keep the windows closed, to wear masks and wash fish and meat thoroughly," said Snegova.

She said it is not recommended to eat fish and meat at the moment because it is believed the virus has been spread through them.

"Secondly, it is recommended to wash your hands more often than usual, rinse your throat three times a day and check your temperature. If any symptoms occur, such as a cough, you should go to the hospital," she said.

The Health Board is advising travelers to China and Wuhan to refrain from visiting markets selling live animals, birds, zoo animals and seafood.

Travelers should monitor themselves for 14 days and call a family doctor if symptoms of respiratory illnesses occur.

The advice issued by the Health Board is being followed by hospitals and transport companies. For example, Tallink has sent information about the coronavirus to medical personnel and crews on its ships and in its hotels.

"In general, we have more Asian tourists on board during the summer season, and today the share of our passengers [who are Asian tourists] is lower than in the summer," said Katri Link, Head of Communications at Tallink.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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