Jüri Ratas' statement: It is time to work together as a society
An emergency situation does not mean life in Estonia will stop, we must simply follow the advice of medics on how to keep ourselves and others healthy, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas says in a video address via ERR.
Dear people of Estonia! As experience from other countries and the world suggests, the COVID-19 coronavirus is spreading quickly and exponentially. We learned of the first case in Estonia on February 26, while it did not remain that way for long. The first case of the disease passing from one Estonian to another was confirmed on Thursday, while the number of diagnosed cases had more than quadrupled by Friday evening.
Unfortunately, these are only the cases we know of. The actual number of people who have the virus is much greater and we will see new diagnoses in the near future. We need to be prepared for the situation becoming worse before it starts getting better.
That is why the government on Thursday night decided to declare an emergency situation in Estonia to remain in effect for as long as necessary. These changes concern schools, culture, traveling. Public events are not allowed.
The aim of the state in laying down such restrictions is to contain the virus and safeguard public health. It will render daily life more uncomfortable, but we simply have no other option for addressing this global problem.
I would like to thank all Estonian people and agencies, medical and internal security personnel and everyone else on the front lines of fighting the virus. Also, people who support and are understanding of their efforts. The latter serve our common well-being and deserve to be recognized by the whole of society.
That said, an emergency situation does not mean life will grind to a standstill in Estonia. We simply need to observe the recommendations of medics on how to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
Close contact with other people helps the virus spread and needs to be avoided. This especially concerns the elderly and people with chronic conditions who are most at risk from the coronavirus. Let us care for each other!
Let us remain sensible and balanced in our consumption. The spread of the virus understandably causes uncertainty and the desire to manage risks. At the same time, Estonia has sufficient food reserves, both in supermarket warehouses and national stockpiles. Therefore, it is sensible to only buy what you need when visiting the shops.
We also need to retain economic activity. I'm sure many Estonian companies are hit by the virus spreading. That is why we need understanding on the part of clients, contractual partners, banks and the state. On it depends our future economic success and our families, loved ones and friends coping.
I promise that the government will work on finding measures and solutions for helping companies in trouble. Let us understand each another!
This is a time to work together as a society against a common threat. Make efforts all together as well as individually, staying calm and rational in thought, respecting each other and contributing as a society. It will help us weather this difficult situation.
The government and agencies are monitoring the situation and working round the clock to find solutions. We are doing everything we can to create as much security and clarity in society as possible.
I wish us all health, strength and success! Take care!
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Editor: Marcus Turovski