Estonia's healthcare sector confirms coronavirus readiness

Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center).
Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: Kadri Põlendik/ERR

Tallinn's ambulance service, hospitals and doctors are prepared for any further coronavirus cases, Baltic News Service reports, following a meeting Friday with social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center).

Experts say family physicians or the ambulance services should only be contacted if virus symptoms appear, according to BNS.

"Participants in [Friday's] meeting prioritized the rapid exchange of information between different authorities and health care institutions, and the provision of balanced, evidence-based information and behavioral guidance to the public," Kiik said.

"Closely following the Health Board's (Terviseamet( guidelines for the public is paramount. The attendees agreed that people should only contact their family medicine center or call the ambulance if they are actually exhibiting coronavirus symptoms," he continued.

Symptoms include a cough, fever, and shortness of breath, BNS reports, with contagion less likely before symptoms appear.

In addition to contacting a family doctor, those suspecting they may have the virus can also call the 1220 hotline, which will help assess whether calling an ambulance is merited. The ambulance service (Kiirabi) said Friday that following the appearance of Estonia's first Coronavirus case early Thursday morning, it had seen an uptick in call-outs, with about 10 concerning suspected Coronavirus – all of which cases proved to be negative. After each call-out where a contagious virus is concerned, the ambulance service must disinfect its vehicle, meaning that along with the extra call-outs, ambulances may take longer to reach actual emergencies.

Participants at Friday's meeting included representatives of the Tallinn emergency services, East-Tallinn Central Hospital (Ida-Tallinna Keskhaigla), North Estonia Medical Center (PERH), Tallinn Children's Hospital (Tallinna Lastehaigla), Association of Family Physicians (Eesti Perearstide Selts), the Health Board and the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa).

The social affairs minister had also met with representatives of the Health Board, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), Tallinn Airport, the Port of Tallinn and ferry company Tallink that morning, also to discuss anti-coronavirus measures to be taken at these points of entry into the country.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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