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:
- Visas and registration
- Schools and universities
- Public spaces
- Shopping centers, restaurants and bars
- Leisure facilities and culture
- International travel
- Domestic travel
- Coronavirus data
- 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 April 17, a total of 117,011 people have been diagnosed with the disease.
- As of April 17, 1,082 people have died after contracting the COVID-19 virus.
- As of April 17, 285,973 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose against COVID-19, while 84,442 have received two doses.
- Currently, 497 people are being treated in hospital.
- In total, 1,224,645 tests have been carried out by the Health Board since January 3,1 2020.
- There are estimated to be 8,261 active cases in Estonia.
- Estonia has a new case rate of 607.61 per 100,000 people as an average of the last 14 days.
- Most of the cases are in Harju, Saare, Ida-Viru, Lääne-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.
From March 11 until April 25, Estonia will be on lockdown.
- All schools will move to distance learning.
- The 2+2 rule applies outside.
- Non-essential shops will be closed.
- Restaurants will be closed.
- Only individual sports and training can take place.
- Masks must be worn in public indoor spaces, including public transport, from November 24.
- A nationwide alcohol ban is in place until April between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m.
- From January 15, a negative coronavirus test should be presented on arrival to Estonia or test must be taken on arrival in Estonia.
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, but parents are advised to keep children at home.
- Schools, colleges and universities are teaching online until April 25.
- 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.
- 2+2 restriction must be followed inside and outside.
- Masks should be worn in public transport and in enclosed public spaces.
- Public events: have been suspended until April 25.
- Public meetings have been suspended until April 25.
- RMK is asking hikers to avoid popular trails to limit the spread of the virus.
- Churches are open but have a 50 percent occupancy cap.
- Shopping malls are closed, except for essential services until April 11.
Shopping centers, restaurants and bars
- Restaurants and bars are closed, except for take-away, until April 25.
- Shopping centers are closed until April 25, except for essential services
- A nationwide late-night alcohol selling ban has been extended until April.
Leisure facilities and culture
- Theaters and cinemas are closed until April 25.
- Entertainment facilities, such as casinos, nightclubs, bowling and billiard courts and children's playrooms, are closed until April 25.
- Gyms, spas and swimming pools are shut except for individual training until April 11.
- Religious services have a 50 percent occupancy rate.
- 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.
- 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.
- Visiting patients has been restricted.
- Birthing partners are allowed in some hospitals. See a list of rules and hospitals here.
- You can download "HOIA" Estonia's coronavirus exposure notification app.
- All parents can now register a child's birth online.
- Sick notes can be opened online.
- Chatbot Suve can help answer questions.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and AlphaGIS created an Estonian language map of European transit options.
- If you are an entrepreneur and want to offer help to the state visit here (link in Estonian).
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Editor: Helen Wright, Andrew Whyte, Kristjan Kallaste