Coronavirus in Estonia: All you need to know ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

SARS-CoV-2.
SARS-CoV-2. Source: Pixabay.

Following the first cases of coronavirus in Estonia in February 2020, the Health Board (Terviseamet) and government have issued advice, recommendations and restrictions to residents of Estonia. ERR News has rounded up this information and put it all in one place.

In the below article you can find information about:

  • Restrictions
  • Visas and registration
  • Schools and universities
  • Public spaces
  • Shopping centers, restaurants and bars
  • Leisure facilities and culture
  • International travel
  • Quarantine
  • Domestic travel
  • Hospitals
  • Carehomes
  • Prisons
  • Coronavirus data
  • Testing
  • Vaccinations
  • Emergency contacts
  • Advice from ministries

This page is regularly updated.

Overview - coronavirus in Estonia:

  • A crisis phone line has been launched to answer coronavirus-related questions and for psychological first aid. The free number to call is 1247.
  • Information about how to get tested for coronavirus is here.
  • As of January 15, a total of 36,096 people have been diagnosed with the disease.
  • As of January 15, 316 people have died after contracting the COVID-19 virus. The last death was on January 14.
  • As of January 15, 16,677 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Currently, 394 people are being treated in hospital and 1,958 people have been discharged.
  • In total, 701,091 tests have been carried out by the Health Board since January 31.
  • There are estimated to be 7,690 active cases in Estonia.
  • Estonia has a new case rate of 578.64 per 100,000 people as an average of the last 14 days.
  • Most of the cases are in Harju, Saare, Ida-Viru, Tartu, Pärnu and Võru counties.
  • Online data analysis and visualization tools have been developed by the University of Tartu, the Health Board and Koroonakaart.
  • You can download "HOIA" Estonia's coronavirus exposure notification app.
  • Anyone arriving in the country from abroad must self-isolate for 10 days.

The above graph was made and is maintained by Koroonakaart.

Restrictions in place in Estonia

Below is a list of restrictions implemented to stop the spread of coronavirus. New restrictions and changes are marked below. The latest news from the Estonian government can be viewed here.

New restrictions

  • New: From January 15, a negative coronavirus test should be presented on arrival to Estonia or test must be taken on arrival in Estonia.
  • New: Flights have been restored between the UK and Estonia from January 1.
  • New: Restaurants and bars are closed in Harju and Ida-Viru counties apart from for takeaway until January 17.
  • New: Schools, universities and other higher education establishments are closed until January 11 and have moved to distance learning.
  • New: Masks must be worn in public indoor spaces, including public transport, from November 24.
  • New: A nationwide alcohol ban was in September and ends on January 26.
  • New: In Ida-Viru County, entertainment and leisure outlets including restaurants, cafes, spa centers, hotels and sports clubs are closed.

Visas and registration

  • Foreign nationals, whose visa or visa-free stay period expires, may stay in Estonia until the end of the emergency situation if they were in the country legally as of March 12, 2020 and they cannot return to their home country. 
  • More information can be found on the Police and Border Guard Board's website.
  • Information about changes to short term visas can be seen in the link below.

 

Schools and universities

  • Kindergartens are open.
  • Schools, colleges and universities are teaching online until January 11.
    Research and development activities are continuing at universities and research institutions.
  • The PPA has said students may not start their studies within 14 days of arrival if they come from a third country or one with a high infection rate. They can start their studies only on day 15 after a negative COVID-19 test.

Public spaces

  • 2+2 restriction must be followed in enclosed public spaces from November 24.
  • Masks should be worn in public transport and in enclosed public spaces from November 24.
  • Public events: 400 spectators can attend indoor events and 500 at outdoor events from November 28.
  • Public meetings can be held from May 18.
  • RMK is asking hikers to avoid popular trails to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Churches are open.
The PPA demonstrate the 2+2 rule in force during the emergency situation. Source: PPA

Shopping centers, restaurants and bars

  • Restaurants and bars are closed in Harju and Ida-Viru counties apart from for takeaway until January 17.
  • Shopping centers are open.
  • A nationwide alcohol ban was in September and ends on January 26.
  • Malls and their shops and restaurants are open from May 11.
  • Nightclubs reopened on July 1 with capacity restrictions.

Leisure facilities and culture

  • Public events: 750 spectators can attend indoor events and 2,000 at outdoor events from July 15. But capacity must be limited to 50 percent at indoor events 
  • Casinos can reopen in June as long as they follow 2+2 and have an occupancy of 50 percent or less.
  • Gyms, spas and swimming pools are open.
  • Religious services, which were suspended, are taking place but following social distancing rules.
  • Driving tests can be held again from May 7.
  • Nightclubs, adult entertainment clubs and hookah lounges are open but must not be over 50 percent occupancy.
  • Hobby clubs have been asked to move to distance learning and cap numbers at 10.

International travel

  • Travelers from the UK: Must either arrive with a negative COVID-19 test result taken in the last 72 hours or be tested on arrival.
  • Between December 21-31, flights to and from the U.K have been suspended.
  • From January 11, travelers from Iceland do not need to quarantine on arrival.
  • From January 11, a 10-day self-isolation will be compulsory for passengers arriving from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland*, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia*, Liechtenstein, Lithuania*, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom
  • From October 22, it is possible to travel to Estonia from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay. Starting from December 14, anyone arriving from Uruguay and Japan must self-isolate.
  • If a person transits through a country with a high infection rate he or she must self-isolate.
  • A rapid test and follow up test for coronavirus can be taken instead of a two week quarantine period when returning to Estonia. This only applies to people going to or traveling for work.
  • Travelers from Finland, Latvia and Lithuania can skip quarantine from October 19 if they test negative for covid-19 within 48 hours of arrival in five cases: they are coming to Estonia to work, study, visit a health care institution, in the case of unavoidable family events, or for the purpose of transit.
  • From September 28, Estonian citizens and residents cannot travel as tourists to Finland.
  • People returning from most third countries must self-quarantine for 10 days and not leave home during that period. Information about quarantine requirements can be found here and below.
  • If you're traveling to or visiting Estonia, you can also download "HOIA" Estonia's coronavirus exposure notification app.

What does quarantine really mean?

The Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) definition of what a 10-day quarantine period is and what the rules are, is published below:

"It means that a person may not leave his or her place of residence within 14 days, except on the instructions of a healthcare professional or a police officer, or for unavoidable reasons.

"For instance, you may leave home if your life is in danger or you need medical attention, to renew your food supplies, purchase essentials or medicines. In all these cases, you must avoid contact with other people.

"Therefore, you must not go to work or too crowded hiking trails. However, you can, for instance, go running or cycling if you do so without coming into contact with others."

For more information visit the Police and Border Guard Board's website.

Domestic travel

  • Public transport is running on its usual schedule.
  • Elron trains are running as usual.
  • Intercity buses are running on a reduced schedule.

Hospitals

  • Visiting patients has been restricted at the North Estonia Medical Center, Kuressaare and Rakvere hospitals.
  • Birthing partners are allowed in some hospitals. See a list of rules and hospitals here.
  • Visiting patients in hospital is allowed from June 1.
  • Scheduled treatments have restarted.

Care homes

  • It is possible to visit relatives in care or nursing homes from June 1.

Prisons

  • Prison visits can be held from May 18.

Additional e-services

Social distancing "Stay Healthy!" sign on Tallinn's Reidi Road. Source: Aron Urb/ Stenbock House

Coronavirus data

The first and second graphs show the total amount of new cases and new cases added each day. If you hover over the line the number of cases will show for each day. The third chart shows the estimated number of active cases in Estonia.

Cases


You can add or take away counties from the graphs by clicking the coloured dots below.

More data from the Health Board can be viewed at Koroonakaart here.

  • Graphs are updated with data released by the Health Board/ Koroonakaart each day at approximately 11 a.m.
  • An article summarizing the past week's data and import information can be found in the sidebar on the righthand side of the "coronavirus" page.

Testing information

  • Information about who can be tested and how to get tested can be found here. You can also call the 1247 helpline for more information.
  • A test can be carried out after a referral from a family doctor after opening a sick note online.
  • A sick note for sick leave can be opened online.
  • Synlab will carry out testing for a fee.
  • Testing is taking place at Tallinn Airport and the Port of Tallinn. It is free for Estonian citizens and residents but others must pay a fee.
  • Coronavirus symptoms are similar to flu symptoms, for example, a fever or cough.

Vaccination information

  • Vaccinations against COVID-19 started in Estonia on December 27.
  • Currently, only health care professionals are being vaccinated.
  • Information about vaccinations against COVID-19 in Estonia can be read here.
  • Data about the vaccination process can be viewed on the Health Board's website.

Emergency contact numbers:

  • On March 16, a crisis phone line launched to answer coronavirus-related questions and for psychological first aid. The free number to call is 1247.
  • The family doctor helpline can be called on 1220 and is the first point of contact. It is staffed by Estonian, Russian and English speakers.
  • Estonian citizens and residents who need travel assistance can contact the consular assistance emergency helpline: +372 53 01 9999 (24 h).
  • In an emergency, or if your health suddenly deteriorates, call the emergency services on 112.
  • The Health Board's advice in English is here.
  • Confido walk-in clinics have a new paid health consultation line 1500, with the service available in English. Their walk-in clinics are closed.
A social distancing sign outside Tartu railway station which translates as "I'll love you from afar". Source: Helen Wright / ERR

How to protect yourself: Advice from the Health Board

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap and in public places use alcohol-based hand disinfectant. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue immediately after use and then clean your hands.
  • Avoid contact (keeping a distance of at least 1 meter) with people with external symptoms of illness, such as cough or sneezing.
  • In public places, your hands are exposed to many objects and surfaces that may have recently been contaminated by viruses.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical help early.
  • Tell your healthcare professional if you have recently visited a risk area, where COVID-19 has been reported, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has visited China and has symptoms of respiratory illness 
  • Do not wear a mask unless you are already sick.
  • Use hand sanitizer where it has been provided, such as supermarkets and shopping centers.
  • The latest information from the Health Board can be viewed here.

Travel advice

The Health Board and Ministry of Foreign Affairs do not recommend traveling abroad at the current time.

If you have returned from abroad and are experienced fever, cough or breathing difficulties within 14 days of your travel, do the following:

  • First, contact your family physician by phone or ask for advice by calling the family physician advisory line 1220 or call ambulance 112.
  • Inform your doctor and ambulance about your recent travel.
  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people.
  • When you arrive at a health care facility, you may be given a mask. This is to protect healthcare professionals and other people.

If you have been in an area with ongoing coronavirus transmission and you do not have any symptoms, do the following:

  • Stay at home for 14 days and monitor your health.
  • Avoid public transport and crowded places where possible.
  • Use the help of friends, family, or a food courier to replenish your food supplies as needed.

If you are traveling in an area with ongoing coronavirus transmission, follow these suggestions:

  • Always follow hand hygiene practices including the use of disinfectant.

Avoid:

  • Close contact with people with respiratory disease symptoms.
  • Markets that sell live or dead animals.
  • Close contact with animals (including wild, domestic and farm animals) and their faeces.
  • Do not consume raw or undercooked meat or unpasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Do not consume unwashed fruits and vegetables.
A sign at the Port of Tallinn reading: "Everything is the same as before. Only with a little more space." Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is recommending people avoid traveling.
  • Travel agents and airlines should also be contacted in the case of booked trips or for those already in affected areas.
  • The Foreign Ministry is asking people who remaining in the risk area to follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • The latest information from the ministry can be found here.
  • Travelers from Estonia are being asked to register their trip here.

Advice from the Ministry of Education

  • All schools in Estonia were closed from Monday, March 16. Pupils will study at home via e-learning.
  • Entrance exams for Tallinn schools have been postponed, and state exams in maths and the Estonian language were made optional for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • The 2020-2021 academic year is scheduled to start on September 1 as usual, and schools will be back to teaching face-to-face in class.
  • The full Ministry of Education and Research guidelines for teachers, parents and students can be viewed here.

General coronavirus information

  • The virus is transmitted from person to person through droplet spread.
  • The incubation period of the virus is about 2-14 days, with an average of 5 days.
  • It is not yet known exactly how effectively the virus spreads and how long the contagious period lasts.
  • Transmission of the disease from asymptomatic carriers has been observed on a case-by-case basis.
  • The new coronary virus SARS-CoV-2 is most likely of animal origin.
  • The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus originated in the city of Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019.
  • COVID-19 is genetically similar to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) and is also referred to by the Health Board as SARS-CoV-2.

Where to find the latest news:

  • The government's crisis information in English is here.
  • The latest news from the City of Tallinn is here.
  • News from Tartu can be viewed here.
  • The Estonian government's latest news in English is here.
  • WHO's situation report dashboard is here.
  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's version is here.
  • The Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) dashboard at Johns Hopkins University is here.
  • The latest information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be found here.
  • The Health Board's English information is here.
  • The Health Board's latest coronavirus data for Estonia is displayed here.

Emergency situation vs. state of emergency 

*Under Estonian law, a state of emergency ("erakorraline seisukord") is only declared in case of a threat to the constitutional order of Estonia and it is not possible to eliminate a threat without the implementation of the measures provided for in the State of Emergency Act. Under the Emergency Act, the Estonian government may declare an emergency situation ("eriolukord") for the resolving of an emergency caused by a natural disaster, catastrophe or spread of a communicable disease.

Advice issued by the government during the emergency situation. Source: kriis.ee/en

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Editor: Helen Wright, Andrew Whyte, Kristjan Kallaste

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