Government to set up coronavirus task force

Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) is to head up the government's Coronavirus task force.
Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) is to head up the government's Coronavirus task force. Source: ERR

The Estonian government has announced it will set up a multi-disciplinary task force, aimed at coordinating activities in the light of the Thursday's confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the first in the country.

The cabinet made the decision following a meeting Thursday morning to address the issue; the team will work in a cross-sectoral context, according to a government press release, and is to be chaired by social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center). It will also comprise secretaries-general, or their deputies, from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Finance.

"The rapid exchange of information between different authorities, and the provision of balanced, evidence-based information and behavioral guidance to the public, is paramount in preventing the virus," Tanel Kiik said, according to the press release.

"The task force to be set up is to ensure that information from the authorities reaches the government in the quickest way, and that this knowledge leads to operational and competent government decisions," he added.

The working group will also soon be required to submit proposals for measures to be taken at the national border, the government said.

Estonia has a land border with fellow Schengen Area country Latvia, as well as a land border with the Russian Federation and a maritime border with Finland.

A passenger on a bus Wednesday afternoon traveling from Riga to Tallinn called himself an ambulance after suspecting he was infected with coronavirus, upon arrival in Tallinn. This proved positive and the man, a 34-year-old Iranian national, is undergoing treatment in the infectious diseases clinic at the West Tallinn Central Hospital (Lääne-Tallinna keskhaigla).

The government also covered the topic in its regular Thursday noon press conference.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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