Minister: Further restriction of movement during coronavirus not needed ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: ERR

Restricting people's movement further as a counter-measure against the coronavirus pandemic would not be justifiable at this point, social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) says.

Speaking on ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Monday night, Kiik said that measures imposed by the coalition government so far – which include imposing border controls, closing all schools and restricting alcohol sales between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. had proven sufficient, though the number of people infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus could be expected to grow.

"We have to be prepared for events across Europe to continue to get worse for a while," Kiik said.

The populace in Estonia had acted quite responsibly so far, Kiik added.

"This is demonstrated by the fact that there has been no explosive increase in the number of infections. We see can statistics, developments in other countries, we can see patterns. Estonia has been below the most negative scenarios, and I hope this will continue in the coming weeks," said Kiik.

As to further restricting movement of people, Kiik said this was not required.

"The government has been discussing the measures almost every day ./.../ I do not consider the moratorium ban to be reasonable at the moment. The measures have had an impact, they have to be retained, they have to be supplemented, and we have to look at weaknesses, such as the gathering of people," he said.

On Monday, Tallinn City Government announced that from the next day, Tuesday, the city would restrict access to the its public playgrounds and sports grounds, and also recommended together with the retail chains that the elderly could set up their shopping trips in the early hours of the morning in order to avoid contact with more visitors as a risk group later on. 

Kiik did not support the latter idea, however.

"If we tell the elderly that they have one hour to shop specifically, there may be a lot more coming in that time-range. We need to avoid putting a very high risk group together to share viruses and germs and lead to health damage," he said.

Kiik noted that although the media may have given the impression that Estonia has been (albeit with restrictions) more lenient than other countries, he does not think so. 

"Estonia took quite stringent measures quite early, which has helped to curb any upswing," he said.

"We have found our infected cases relatively early on and the disease has not been able to do the kind of damage that is happening elsewhere in Europe," he added.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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