Ratas: It is better to overreact than to be careless

Prime minister Jüri Ratas (Center).
Prime minister Jüri Ratas (Center). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

We have to be ready for the situation regarding the coronavirus to get worse in Estonia before it will get better, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said in a video address broadcast by ERR, which follows.

As of right now, we have gathered samples from more than three and a half thousand people and have identified more than three hundred infected.

In reality, there are more people carrying the virus than there are people who have been officially diagnosed. Many people have yet become symptomatic and others with mild symptoms might not suspect the coronavirus. At the same time, they might inadvertently carry the virus on to people they are in contact with.

The harsh experiences of other countries also prove that a calmer period can quickly be followed by a sharp increase in infected people. We have to be ready for the spread of coronavirus to get worse in Estonia before it will get better. Only on Saturday we received sad news that the COVID-19 virus has claimed a life in both Lithuania and Finland.

This is why we must consider our behaviour at all times and act with caution every day, at all times. Most importantly, we have to protect the elderly and chronically ill. For them, the virus is most dangerous.

Let us help our loved ones in at-risk groups, so they can safely stay at home until the situation improves. At the same time we have to eliminate the possibility of us transmitting the infection in their homes, in nursing homes, in hospitals.

We have significantly extended the capabilities of carrying out coronavirus tests across Estonia. It is still necessary to focus on people who are most at risk; however, it is possible to test people of any age if their family doctor deems testing necessary.

Let us preserve the health of ourselves and of others. People must stay at home and contact their family doctors in case of medical problems or symptoms of respiratory illness. In cases of serious illness, emergency services must be called immediately.

Now is not the time for any social life, as it is necessary to interact with as few people as possible for the sake of our health. A safe distance should be kept with others in public transport and on streets, moving about in natural surrounds or in stores. It is also important to observe the rules of hygiene and to listen to healthcare professionals.

Staying inside for days and weeks at a time can understandably be burdensome, but it is absolutely necessary in order to protect the health and life of ourselves and our loved ones.

The emergency situation with its restrictions on travelling and moving has dealt a major blow to the economies of both Estonia and Europe and will affect many people and companies.

We do not have much proven knowledge in this current situation and that is why, for both individual people and for the state, it is better to be safe than sorry. It is better to overreact than to be careless. It is better to restrict our behaviour excessively than not enough. By doing this, we can overcome the disease together.

The government and the Estonian authorities are giving their all to provide the necessary information, instructions and a sense of security to all. Medical staff, caregivers, social workers, police officers, border guards and others are working hard to ensure our health and safety.

I wish us all health, and take care!

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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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