Chief medical officer at Tallinn's ambulance service (Kiirabi) Raul Adlas says that news of the arrival of the first confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus in Tallinn on Thursday led to the service working at full stretch, with the chance that Coronoavirus call-outs might cause delays to other emergency calls.
Speaking on ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Thursday evening, Adlas said that the service had received 10 calls over suspected Coronavirus cases that day, a number which tallied with Health Board spokesperson Simmo Saar, who said 11 samples were taken on the same day, all of which turned out to be negative.
Estonia's first positive case of Coronavirus was found overnight Wednesday and Thursday after an individual who suspected he might have contracted the virus called an ambulance after arriving in Tallinn by bus from Riga. The man, a 34-year-old Iranian national resident in Estonia, according to reports, had flown in to Riga from Istanbul, Turkey, with his daughter, transferring by minibus to the bus station, and had previously been in contact with a relative who had contracted the virus. He is currently being held in the infectious diseases clinic at the West Tallinn Central Hospital (Lääne Tallinna Keskhaigla).
Raul Adlas explained how Coronavirus fears had led to an uptick in ambulance work.
"My colleagues have been going back and forth between [patients'] homes and hospitals to bring these people in for tests. The figure for patients being transported to the hospital has increased tenfold during that time," he said.
Adlas added that each such trip required the full disinfection of the ambulance, something which did not happen after every single trip previously.
"Normally we carry out a disinfection when we are carrying infectious patients or once a day, but now we do it after every challenge," he added.
Adlas said he hoped that public anxiety would eventually subside and that advice over the phone would increasingly be used.
Editor: Andrew Whyte