Social affairs minister: 41 confirmed coronavirus cases in Estonia

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Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) at Friday's government press conference.
Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) at Friday's government press conference. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

A total of 41 people have been confirmed to have the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Estonia, social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) said Friday morning.

On Thursday, the Health Board's laboratory identified 24 positive coronavirus tests. When broken down by region, 21 were from Harju County, there were 16 cases in Saaremaa and 4 in Tartu County. In total 120 analyzes were performed.

A total of 584 samples have been tested since January. 

Kiik said, so far, in most cases people who have tested positive have been told to self-quarantine for 14 days at home and are not being treated in hospital.  

In future, the Health Board will provide the public with an overview of the current status of the COVID-19 virus in Estonia twice a day. Each individual case will no longer be reported separately, Kiik said.

Speaking at a government press conference together with prime minister Jüri Ratas (Center), interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) and foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Kiik said that some of the new cases had been found on the island of Saaremaa.

While all Estonian schools are closed from Monday, Saaremaa's were closed from Thursday after the island's municipal government made the move following the discovery of two coronavirus cases.

The cases followed a volleyball tournament which went ahead last weekend and featured a visiting team from northern Italy, despite that region being an at-risk zone.

The Estonian government declared an emergency situation* late Thursday evening.

Emergency situation vs. state of emergency

* An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that the Estonian government had declared a state of emergency in connection with the novel coronavirus outbreak. This article has since been updated to accurately reflect that the government instead declared an emergency situation.

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.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Helen Wright

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