President Kersti Kaljulaid urged the country to work together to overcome the crisis and emergency situation caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Saturday.
Kaljulaid said the government calling an emergency situation was the right thing to do. She also thanked officials, politicians, vital service providers and others. The head of state also called for people to use common sense during this time and to help those in need.
Kaljulaid's full statement is below:
"Dear people of Estonia!
"Since yesterday, our country lives in an emergency situation and the Prime Minister is in charge of the emergency measures. It was the right decision and it is important to give our government and officials the necessary peace to work and also to support them in their work in solving the crisis, which has befallen us.
"But - the emergency situation or a crisis committee alone cannot help us – we all need to work together. My sincere gratitude to all officials, politicians, providers of vital services, as well as kindergarten teachers, shopkeepers, bus drivers, food couriers, journalists, and others, who are keeping the necessary blood circulation of our society working and viable. We are all in this kind of situation for the first time and we are all inevitably worried about what tomorrow will bring. However, we function – as a society, not simply as different agencies, organisations and commissions.
"Today, a lot depends on everybody`s own initiatives. There is no need to wait for a comission to make a decision, in the need of necessity we need to act ourselves, armed with common sense and the current information – this is how a lot of local municipalities work at the moment. Crisis committees across Estonia are taking measures that are needed specifically in their area.
"The elderly, the sick and the weakest need to be protected – avoiding close contact if possible, but also keeping constant contact via mobile phones. Let's try to keep those, who are in the risk group from having to go to the pharmacy and to the store themselves. It may be actually life threatening. Thank you to those local governments who have already thought about this. Hopefully, all the younger people have also already thought about it. Have you called your mother or grandmother and offered to help? Please do it or find a closer friend or relative, who can do it!
"Have you – the head of an organisation or company – already arranged for your employees to work from home, where possible? Considered how to work safer, if contact is necessary? Allocated your employees into groups, work out who could continue to work if the first group will be affected by the virus.
"I am sure you have. Again – the Health Board, the government or anyone else does not know as well what is the situation with your organisation, your family, your village. Let us all think what we can jointly do in order to create the necessary social distance to stop the virus or how to stay healthy if it is not possible to keep the distance.
"Let us cherish each other! And let's trust and support those, who are managing this crisis!"
Editor: Helen Wright