Coronavirus in Estonia: All you need to know

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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
  • 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 July 26, a total of 132,524 people have been diagnosed with the disease.
  • As of July 26, 1,271 people have died after contracting the COVID-19 virus.
  • As of July 26, 621,496 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose against COVID-19, while 545,580 have received two doses.
  • Currently, 33 people are being treated in hospital.
  • In total, 1,606,276 tests have been carried out by the Health Board since January 31 2020.
  • There are estimated to be 975 active cases in Estonia.
  • Estonia has a new case rate of 76.75 per 100,000 people as an average of the last 14 days.
  • Most of the cases are in Harju, Ida-Viru, Rapla Tartu and Pärnu 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.

The above graph was made and is maintained by Koroonakaart.

Vaccination information

  • Anyone over the age of 12 can get vaccinated in Estonia.
  • Uninsured people and foreigners living in Estonia can get vaccinated against COVID-19 free of charge. Read more here.
  • Estonia is using the Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen vaccines. AstraZenca is being used for the over 50s.
  • You can register for vaccination online on the Patient Portal with an ID card or by calling the 1247 hotline if you do not have one.
  • Information about vaccinations against COVID-19 in Estonia can be read on the government's vaccination information page.
  • Read ERR News' vaccination FAQ here.

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 sick note for sick leave can be opened online.
  • Synlab or Confido 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.

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.

Visas and registration

  • 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.

 

Masks

  • If is recommended but not mandatory to wear a mask in public.

Schools and universities

  • Kindergartens are open.
  • Schools, colleges and universities are teaching online.
  • 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 rule no longer applies.
  • Masks are recommended but not required.
  • Public events: are allowed with a 50 percent occupancy limit.
  • Public meetings are allowed with a 50 percent occupancy limit.
  • Churches are open but have a 50 percent occupancy cap.
  • Shopping malls are open but with a 50 percent occupancy limit.
The PPA demonstrate the 2+2 rule in force during the emergency situation. Source: PPA

Shopping centers, restaurants and bars

  • Restaurants and bars are open but with occupancy restrictions.
  • Shopping centers are open
  • A nationwide late-night alcohol selling ban no longer applies.

Leisure facilities and culture

  • Theaters and cinemas are open.
  • Entertainment facilities, such as casinos, nightclubs, bowling and billiard courts and children's playrooms, are open.
  • Gyms, spas and swimming pools are open.
  • Religious services have a 50 percent occupancy rate.

International travel

  • Vaccinated arrivals do not need to quarantine on arrival.
  • Arrivals from countries with a covid rate below 150 per 100,000 inhabitants do not have to quarantine on arrival. All other travelers must quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Masks should be worn on public transport.

Hospitals

  • Visiting patients has been restricted.
  • Birthing partners are allowed in some hospitals.

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.

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

Cases

  • 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 right-hand side of the "coronavirus" page.

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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