Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), who is in charge of the government-declared emergency situation, issued orders on Friday aimed at containing the spread of the novel coronavirus. These orders concerned border crossing points, incoming passengers, the list of at-risk areas as well as arrangements for kindergartens.
"With this order, more specific measures are established in order to protect the health and lives of the people, taking into account overwhelming public interest in connection with the containment of the spread of the virus," the explanatory memorandum states according to a government press release. The order entered into force at the time it was signed.
Ratas instructed local authorities to develop and present solutions as soon as possible to ensure the care of children of kindergarten age when their parents must be at work, and to submit these solutions immediately to the person in charge of the emergency situation, i.e. him.
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) must conduct health checks at border crossing points in order to identify crossers' country of departure as well as their self-declared symptoms. This includes Estonia's external border, the crossing points at Ikla, Valga and Lilli, as well as all ports and airports open to international travel.
The police will request the following data at manned border crossing points: the individual's name, their country of departure, country/countries of transit and country of destination, email address, phone number, place of residence or where they will be staying in Estonia. Those crossing the border must also be informed of the rules currently in force in Estonia to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, must provide the person in charge of the emergency situation with a daily overview of areas of high virus spread, where persons arriving from these areas must avoid contact with other persons for two weeks via self-isolation. The list of relevant countries will be expanded by the order of the person in charge of the emergency situation. Isolation rules will be developed with the Ministry of the Interior by March 16.
Ratas also instructed government authorities to note that, according to the proposal and risk assessment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regions currently deemed to have a high spread of the virus include China, South Korea, Singapore, Iran, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Egypt.
In cooperation with the Government Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ensure that the embassies and citizens of these countries are informed.
The prime minister also instructed the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with passenger shipping companies, to develop and implement measures to limit the spread of the virus as well as to inform passengers when purchasing tickets, as well as those who have already purchased tickets, of aforementioned isolation requirements.
Commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
As of Saturday morning, 109 cases of coronavirus disease have been confirmed in Estonia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla