Conscripts to remain with units to avoid spread of coronavirus to bases

Conscripts. Source: Karl Jakob Toplaan

Under the orders of Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Maj. Gen. Martin Herem, conscripts will remain with their units this weekend in order to reduce the risk of the novel coronavirus reaching any EDF bases.

Conscripts will only be authorized to leave only in exceptional, justified cases. Visits to units will likewise be canceled.

The EDF has limited active servicemembers' travel abroad and has critically reviewed the needs and goals of foreign deployments. EDF personnel are likewise prohibited from deploying to at-risk areas and countries.

Anyone arriving back from an at-risk area will work from home for a set period when possible. Servicemembers who have visited countries not named at-risk areas but where they have come in contact with people who have arrived from at-risk areas will likewise be sent to work from home as a precautionary measure.

The Scouts Journey (Scoutsrännak) scheduled to take place on March 18 will be canceled. Unit leaders will be required to decide regarding each domestic event individually whether or not to cancel it. If participants from outside the EDF have been invited to an event, unit leaders will have the right to cancel them or employ remote working resources. Events which are to become public events will be coordinated with local governments.

"We are implementing these activities first and foremost for the protection of our troops and their relatives, and in order to prevent the possible spread of the disease," said Targo Lusti, chief doctor of the EDF. "At the same time, I see no cause for panic, and considering the fact that the people in the EDF and in conscription service are generally healthy and strong, there is no major risk of serious cases of the disease."

Lusti added that the EDF offers the opportunity to work from home for a period of up to seven days, which can be extended with the authorization of a doctor.

No cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been connected with the EDF.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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